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USD Economist: Not All Of San Diego's Economy Is Sinking Amid Coronavirus Crisis

San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.
Milan Kovacevic
San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.

San Diego’s economy is taking a beating because of the COVID-19 restrictions that limit human interaction.

The region’s tourism and service sectors are being crushed by rules that limit travel. Hotels, restaurants and tourist spots are all closed to visitors, resulting in thousands of workers being laid off or furloughed.

A recent survey by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce found only 1% of the businesses that responded to a recent survey say they are shutting down permanently, but 42% are shutting down temporarily.


But there are some bright spots — one of them is the military, which represents more than $1 billion of local economic activity.

“I don’t think that you’re going to see layoffs of civilian personnel in the military like you’re seeing in the private sector,” said Alan Gin, a University of San Diego economist.

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Gin also sees positive news for the region’s life-science sector.

“We have a strong biotech cluster here in San Diego and I think with the need to try to find a cure for this situation,” Gin said. “I think there are going to be strong efforts in that, even though not everybody is going to shift to working on this issue.”


Gin said many local biotech companies are engaged in the quest to understand and fight the coronavirus.

Even those that are not engaged, are expected to remain busy because so much research is tied to grant funding that’s already been awarded.