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Military spent $25B in San Diego last year

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SAN DIEGO — An estimated $24.8 billion was spent on military activity in San Diego County during the most recent fiscal year, down from $25.2 billion the previous year, according to a study released Wednesday.

The direct military spending in San Diego County in 2014-15 amounted to $7,700 per resident, according to the seventh annual San Diego Military Advisory Council economic impact study prepared by the Fermanian Business and Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University.

PLNU economist Lynn Reaser said wages to sailors, Marines and civilian defense workers amounted to $11.5 billion. Defense contractors received more than $9 billion, and retirees over $4 billion, she said.

The PLNU study also found that defense-related activities and spending generated an estimated $45 billion of gross regional product for the county in the fiscal year, representing 21.5 percent of the region’s total GRP. That compares to the previous year’s $38.7 billion of defense activities, or 20 percent of GRP.

The GRP impact stems from employee pay being spent throughout the region and companies doing defense work hiring subcontractors.

The military sector was responsible for about 328,000 jobs in 2014-15, or 22 percent of the region’s total jobs after accounting for the ripple effects of defense spending. That’s about 11,000 more than the previous year.

The report also found that the 49 Navy ships based in San Diego generated direct spending of about $2.6 billion, and $5.7 billion in GRP. The two aircraft carriers based in San Diego bring a combined $1.5 billion to the economy, the report said.

SDMAC officials said some uncertainty exists over future military spending in the region, with the possibility of renewed budget freezes and base realignments. The Pentagon’s strategic focus on Asia is likely to dampen any adverse impacts, according to the organization.