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County unemployment rate keeps falling

Thanks mostly to hospitality jobs related to tourism

Graph depicting the fall in unemployment in the San Diego–Carlsbad metropolitan statistical area
  • Graph depicting the fall in unemployment in the San Diego–Carlsbad metropolitan statistical area
  • source: state Employment Development Department

The San Diego County unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in April from a revised 4.7 percent in March and 5.0 percent a year ago, according to data from the California Employment Development Department. Jobs rose 6000 in the month.

The big gainer was leisure and hospitality jobs, up 3300 in the month. This is normally a strong period as hotels and restaurants gear up for summer tourism. The biggest loser in the month was manufacturing, down 1200 jobs.

Jobs were up 36,900 from a year earlier. Education and health services were the big gainers year-over-year, with a rise of 7100 jobs.

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As usual, mostly McJobs were created (Manufacturing lost 1200 jobs). Tourism does not pay enough to live decently in San Diego. Meanwhile, companies like Qualcomm are laying people off, and hiring H-1B's to replace them. The 4.7% unemployment rate in San Diego is really meaningless as it is the based U-3 rate, and not the natural U-6 rate. In the US right now there is a pool of people who are basically unemployable in the eyes of employers. The labor participation rate is 62.8% for April 2016, the lowest since the 70's. Until the leadership in this country decides to put the citizens ahead of the Corporate/Capital class when it comes to employment, these shenanigans will continue.

hwstar: I don't disagree with most of what you say. The unemployment rate can be quite misleading. For just one thing, the person who gets laid off at an $80,000 a year job and goes to work in a new job for $30,000 per year is counted as employed.

What is significant is income. Median household income statistics can be helpful. There are other statistics, too. Middle class incomes have been declining for several decades, as the incomes of the top 1 percent have been soaring.

The basic reason, as you say, that the country puts the corporate/capital class ahead of the citizenry. A major reason for this is the flow of money from big companies' lobbyists to politicians, as well as gifts bestowed on politicians (anonymously or not) by the wealthy.

The situation in the U.S. now is probably worse in this regard than what it was in the days of the Robber Barons. You can say one thing for Robber Barons: they were building a nation -- autos, railroads, steel, etc. The bulk of today's robber barons are on Wall Street. Their activities actually detract from the economy. They don't create jobs; they destroy jobs. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: That is certainly true for retailers. Best, Don Bauder

I would think at least some portion of workers in the hospitatlity industry would lose their jobs due to decreased occupancy if the TOT is increased from 12.5% to 16.5%.

But

If an increased TOT pays for infrastructure improvements then I think there will likely be some decent long-term jobs associated with the infrastructure improvements.

If an increased TOT pays for a new Chargers stadium I think will be a short-term burst in construction work and perhaps a few jobs selling concessions on 10 Sunday afternoons per year. Oh - I almost forgot - every 7-10 years or so (my guess) we'd have a Super Bowl which will provide a couple weeks worth of short term low income jobs.

ImJustABill: I have consulted some hotel experts who don't think the sharp increase in the TOT will make a dent in tourism. However, I think an increase of that magnitude couldn't help but have some effect. One saving grace: the hotel taxes in competing West Coast tourist havens are also quite high.

You are correct in your analysis of labor trends tied to construction. California has this scam that construction unions pull. First, they oppose any building project that uses public funds. Then the unions are given a guarantee that all the jobs will be union jobs, and they become enthusiastic rooters for the project.

You are right: a stadium's only effect on employment will be a short-term boost in construction jobs. There won't be a significant increase in concessions jobs because the people who worked football games at Qualcomm will just come over to a new stadium.

I think you are optimistic believing that San Diego would get a Super Bowl every 7 to 10 years. The NFL hands out Super Bowls to every city that fleeces local taxpayers for a new or greatly improved stadium. Recently, the games have gone to cities with lousy winter weather. There are 32 teams and most have been fleecing taxpayers for new or greatly improved stadiums in recent years. One Super Bowl every 20 years is more like it. Best, Don Bauder

I'm certainly no hotel expert but the basic question I would have is - if a 4% increase in the total bill to hotel customers doesn't hurt business then why don't the hotels just raise their rates 4%?

The NFL has definitely been awarding SB's to cities for building new stadiums but I would think eventually fans will want to travel to traditional winter vacation spots - So Cal, New Orleans, Florida. We'll see.

ImJustABill: Warm vacation spots like Florida and Southern California or cold-clime cities where there is an indoor stadium. Best, Don Bauder

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