Don Bauder 6:07 a.m., May 21
Economy 2013 "maddeningly slow"
Cunningham sees San Diego lagging state, nation
Economist Kelly Cunningham of the National University System Institute for Policy Research sees San Diego County growing only 1.5% this year, adjusted for inflation, versus 1.6% for California and 2% for the nation. He assumes Congress will come to some resolutions without huge spending cuts, "but it is difficult to foresee a scenario where defense spending overall is not reduced in upcoming years," he says. This will dent San Diego. The local defense economy will tread water at best this year, he says. The natural increase in population (births minus deaths) will decline 1.7%, although international migration will rise 5%. People and businesses will continue to leave San Diego and the state as a result of high taxes, regulations, high real estate prices, costly electricity, union power and high labor costs. Inflation will rise 2.4% as food and energy prices go up.
The county will add 21,000 jobs, up from a gain of 18,000 last year, as the unemployment rate drops moderately. But Cunningham points out that between 2007 and 2010, San Diego lost 103,300 jobs, and since then, has only gained 51,000 back. Inflation-adjusted taxable sales will inch up 1.1%. Taxable sales have rebounded since the 2008-2009 lows, but "annual sales nevertheless are lower when adjusted for inflation than recorded every year since 1999." One in seven business outlets closed during the Great Recession, and then bounced back, but the number of business outlets is still 8% lower than it was in 2006.
Home prices appear to have bottomed last year, but further gains will likely be mixed because of the weak economy and foreclosures working their way through the system. Residential construction should rise 13%, but this was way down in the recession.