San Diego County’s regional economy is still contracting, with housing starts at a 41-year low, employers continuing to shed jobs, and consumer spending stuck in the doldrums, according to an economic report set for release today by the UCLA Anderson Forecast.
“Consider 2009 a throw-away year except that the existing housing sector should recover,” UCLA’s Mark Schiepp wrote in summarizing the San Diego County Economic Outlook for 2009-10. “The unemployment rate, currently at 9.3 percent, will rise further in the local economy through next year, and the retail sector will suffer through another poor year of weak sales.”
In other words, don’t expect much in the way of an economic recovery until 2010.
Presentations that detail San Diego’s regional economic outlook, including state and national economic trends, are part of a program scheduled for this morning at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina. While the UCLA Anderson Forecast does not break out San Diego’s technology and life sciences industries, they are factored into the regional economic outlook, senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg of the UCLA Anderson Forecast told me yesterday. “Our expectation is that real, solid growth in these sectors will play a role as San Diego grows out of the recession,” Nickelsburg said.
Included in the 128-page report is a section that discusses trends in San Diego’s commercial real estate sector, with “Class A” office vacancy now at 20 percent throughout the county. Within the “golden triangle” of San Diego’s University City area, considered an ideal location for local technology and life sciences companies, the report says office space has grown by 2 million square feet, or 26 percent, since 1998. But the office vacancy rate in the golden triangle, which was 6 percent in early 2008, is nearly 13 percent today.
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