Local economic recovery ‘lackluster,’ study says

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego’s regional economy has grown over the past two years, though the recovery lagged when compared to other regions, according to a report released Wednesday by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

San Diego city moneySan Diego’s gross domestic product reached $177.4 billion in 2012, up 2.7 percent from the previous year and the strongest increase in local economic production since 2005, prior to the onset of the 2007-09 recession, according to NUSIPR. But the recovery remained “lackluster,” the report says.

San Diego’s recovery ranked 30th among the country’s 40 largest metro regions with a GDP of $85 billion or more, according to the institute. The local GDP increased 4.5 percent between 2009 and 2012, compared to 5.3 percent statewide and 6.7 percent nationwide.

“The GDP report shows us where and why the economy has been sluggish,” said NUSIPR senior economist Kelly Cunningham. “We see military and defense expenditures further lagging in 2014, so it becomes even more critical that other major drivers of the San Diego economy — technology, manufacturing, real estate, hospitality, utilities — pick up the pace for the region to prosper.”

NUSIPR officials said their analysis showed that much of the region’s recovery had been a function of military and defense expenditures, but lowered federal spending since 2010 is now resulting in economic activity falling behind. Sequestration and other spending cuts would also cause an impact, NUSIPR officials said.

The information, real estate, construction, trade, leisure/hospitality and natural resources sectors were also affected by the recession, and although they have shown some growth, none have returned to peak levels, the report says.

San Diego’s manufacturing sector grew throughout the recession, despite lowered employment numbers, according to the NUSIPR.

The GDP data showed San Diego’s greatest competitive strengths in the computer and electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding, recreational goods manufacturing, professional, scientific, technical services, accommodations and real estate sectors. But for the region’s overall economy to recover, those industries must continue to improve, according to the report.

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