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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%.

Comments
6

Tourism represents 4.5% of our economy, but seems to receive a huge percentage of government subsidies and incentives.

When I look at the percentages for finance and insurance, I'm a bit suprised. San Diego doesn't seem to be a center for these industries.

I wonder how much of that percentage will turn out to be phoney-baloney paper-shuffling that represents no genuine economic activity at all...

Nov. 5, 2009

My reaction is the same as Fred's. That's all that tourism contributes? 4.5%? It gets so much attention and promotion that it should represent a far greater share. But this proves a point I've been trying to make for years, and that is that tourism is a poor excuse of an industry and that most of the jobs it provides are poorly paid and scarcely worth all the effort.

Nov. 6, 2009

Response to post #1: What inflates those finance numbers are real estate-related jobs -- mortgage bankers and brokers, appraisers, etc. You're right: San Diego is not a money center. But as the data I cited show, real estate is a huge percentage of the economy. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 6, 2009

Response to post #2: Your point is well taken. Tourism jobs pay very poorly. Much of the money accumulated by facilities owners goes to out-of-town hotel conglomerates. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 6, 2009

Don, the fact is that California is dead in the water and sinking fast, with bilges full of the dead weight of corrupt, blotted politicians.

We are being taxed to death with obscene local, state and federal taxes that have destroyed the former "Land Of Opportunity" so that politicians are the only people making money.

It's time to replace term limits with voting everyone out every election, with laws that only allow control of our governments by individual taxpayers who communicate with our representatives directly as individuals.

Nov. 7, 2009

Response to post #5: There are bad sides to term limits, too. One is that every politician is paying attention to the next step up the ladder, the next elective job after being termed out, rather than to business at hand. Another is that a politician that becomes really well informed on a topic gets termed out and leaves, and some ignoramus with no knowledge of the subject -- say environmentalism or tax policy -- comes in. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 7, 2009

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