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Kelly Cunningham, economist for the National University System Institute for Policy Research predicts that inflation-adjusted growth in San Diego in 2012 will be 1.8% -- moderate, but the best in six years. Employment will grow by 1.8%, but as more people enter the labor force, the unemployment rate will only come down to an average 9.8% from an average 10% this year.

Cunningham sees 21,000 jobs gained next year. Combined with 36,000 in 2010 and this year, San Diego County should recover slightly more than half the 102,400 jobs lost between 2007 and 2009. Adjusted for inflation, taxable sales should rise 1.4% next year while taxable sales per capita only go up 0.7%. The middle class will continue to evanesce, albeit slowly: "Middle-skilled jobs that once formed the broad base of the middle class are disappearing," says Cunningham.

Population of the county will be 3.17 million. The average yearly increase of 1% over the past decade "was the lowest in more than a century," says Cunningham.

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