Ken Leighton 3:42 p.m., July 16
Defense, Fire Reconstruction Propel San Diego Economy
War and natural disasters propped up the San Diego economy last year. According to Kelly Cunningham, economist for the National University System Institute for Policy Research, the county's metropolitan gross domestic product, or total output of goods and services, grew 2.6% last year. The state grew by just 0.4% and the nation by 0.7%. "But for the grace of defense spending, San Diego would look a lot more like other economically devastated regions of the southwest," says Cunningham. Reconstruction from the 2007 fires also produced some growth, as natural disasters always do.
Using figures recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Cunningham reports that San Diego's metropolitan GDP was $169.33 billion last year. That's larger than economic output in Oregon, Kentucky, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nevada, Kansas, Utah and 17 other states. San Diego's output tops that of several countries, including Pakistan and the Philippines.
Government is the second largest contributor to the local economy, accounting for 17% of San Diego GDP. First is finance, insurance and real estate, which contracted last year, at 24.6%. Real estate accounts for 20.1% of the San Diego economy. That's third in the U.S., trailing only Orlando (24.5%) and Miami (20.8%). Tourism is 4.5% of the San Diego economy. That's the sixth largest percentage among metro areas in the U.S. Las Vegas is first at 19.5% (surprised?) and Orlando second at 10.2%.