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San Diego County Economy Picking Up Steam

Economic Index Trends Higher

The University of San Diego's Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose 1 percent in March.

USD Economics Professor Alan Gin compiles the index, which has been up for 12 months in a row.

Gin said that bodes well for the county's economic outlook.

"Things are beginning to pick up, things are moving slowly though," Gin said. "The big problem is the job front. We've lost a lot of jobs both in the national level and locally since this downturn began. And we're starting to pick up but we got a long way to go."

He said the county's unemployment rate remains 11 percent.

Gin said about 5,000 jobs were added to the local economy in March compared to February. However, Gin also said the unemployment rate still edged higher because more workers returned to the workforce in search of jobs.

Gin said an increase in local stock prices and the outlook for the national economy helped the upside move last month.

He said building permits, initial claims for unemployment insurance and help-wanted advertising were also positive, but to a lesser extent.

Gin said if San Diego County's economy did not bottom out at the end of 2009, it likely has in the first part of 2010.