Jobs at Center of UCLA Forecast, Sony Buys Out Partner, Wireless Health on Stage at CEA Forum, & More San Diego Biztech News

10/31/11Follow @bvbigelow

Economists from the UCLA Anderson Forecast and University of San Diego will break out details of their 2012 economic outlook at a conference in downtown San Diego this morning. The study was released earlier today. We have highlights, along with a roundup of last week’s San Diego tech news.

—Job growth in the nation, state, and San Diego remains the biggest concern in the 2012 economic outlook being released today by the UCLA Anderson Forecast. The San Diego economy will “continue to grind along with slightly positive job growth… mirroring the softening forecasted for the nation and state,” according to University of San Diego economists Ryan Ratcliff and Alan Gin, who prepared the local economic outlook for the next three to four quarters. They say, “Unfortunately, this job growth will just barely keep up with the growth of the labor force.” They see unemployment holding steady at 10 percent in San Diego County. The California forecast sees virtually no growth in employment, with the jobless rate stuck at 12 percent. The forecast predicts very modest national economic growth of 2.5 percent to 3 percent, with nationwide unemployment at 8.6 percent.

—Japan’s Sony Corp. agreed to pay almost $1.5 billion to buy Ericsson’s share in Sony Ericsson, the joint venture the two global giants formed 10 years ago to make wireless handsets. The deal could pose ramifications for San Diego-based Sony Electronics, part of Sony’s U.S. operations. By buying out its Swedish partner, Sony is expected to integrate smartphones produced by its new handset business with Sony’s existing expertise in consumer electronics, as well as games, music, and movies.

—In a separate announcement, Sony said its U.S. subsidiary based in New York has acquired Redmond, WA-based Micronics, which is focused on developing “point of care” medical devices. Financial terms of the buyout were not disclosed. This deal also could involve Sony’s operations in San Diego, which has been emerging as a hub for both biomedical diagnostics and wireless healthcare. The Japanese giant said it bought Micronics to accelerate its own R&D in point-of-care diagnostics, and to accelerate the commercialization of Micronics’ other point-of-care devices.

—The Consumer Electronics Association showcased wireless health at its annual industry forum in San Diego last week. The CEA says a study on the role of technology in consumer health and wellness found that consumers are interested in communicating with their doctors via wireless devices. The study says 36 percent of those polled said they would be interested in sending health data to their doctor via a wireless device; 33 percent are interested in managing their health records online; and 32 percent would be willing to consult with their doctor via online video.

—U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra told a consumer electronics industry forum that government initiatives in technology innovation are leading to a host of success stories in communications, from helping to find lost children to fostering better collaborations among police, fire, and other emergency “first responders,” according to the Consumer Electronics Association. In a keynote speech during the CEA Industry Forum in San Diego, Chopra named Compete.org as a website where entrepreneurs can find information about incentive prize competitions and other challenges the government has established.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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