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San Diego Records Another Strong Month of Employment Gains in November

San Diego’s labor market recorded another strong month of employment gains in November, according to the latest jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Professional and Business Services Recouped All Lost Jobs Since February 2020.

San Diego County added 15,000 to payrolls in the past month as hiring increased heading into the holidays. The unemployment rate fell to a pandemic low of 4.6%, down from a revised 5.3% in October. A year ago, the local unemployment rate was 6.8% and peaked at a pandemic high of 15.9% in April 2020.

Retail hiring led to the trade, transportation and utilities employment sector posting the strongest month-over-month growth with 7,300 new positions, of which 5,400 were in retail trade. Although many of those jobs are not permanent, it was encouraging that more people entered the labor force in November, ticking up by more than 8,500.

According to the report, the only sectors to lose jobs in November was financial activities at 1,100, manufacturing at 500 and construction at 300.

On a year-over-year basis, nonfarm employment grew by 64,900 jobs, or 4.6%.

Leisure and hospitality posted the strongest gains in the past 12 months, adding 28,500 to payrolls. Professional and business services added 10,800, of which the professional, scientific and technical services fields added 6,500.

Many of the local positions flowing into the fast-growing life science industry in San Diego fill this employment category, which has been at the forefront of leasing activity in both the office and industrial markets.

On a year-over-year basis, only the financial activities and manufacturing sectors reported losses, at 2,300 and 100 jobs lost, respectively.

Taking a longer view of the employment picture, comparing the end of 2021 with the month prior to the pandemic, shows that in February 2020, San Diego’s nonfarm labor force consisted of 1.52 million people, which is 54,600 more than in November.

Consequently, total nonfarm employment in San Diego is still down 3.6% compared to February 2020. Almost every employment sector still has ground to make up, with none more than leisure and hospitality, which is down 28,000 jobs, or 14.2% from pre-pandemic levels.

But in an encouraging sign, construction is no longer the only industry to add jobs since February 2020. Professional and business services is up 1,400, or 0.5%.

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