San Diego’s economy will grow by 1.8 percent next year, the best it’s done in six years, according to the National University System Institute for Policy Research, a nonprofit organization that released its report Dec. 15.

The good news is the region should see a net increase in jobs of 21,000 next year. The bad news is that’s far below what it will take to dig San Diego out of the hole it got into from 2007 to 2009 when the region lost 102,400 jobs, the report said.

The think tank forecast the unemployment rate dropping to 9.8 percent next year, only two-tenths of a percent below this year’s 10 percent average.

Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that most of the new jobs, such as landscaping and nursing-home work, pay low wages, the report said. Other areas that should grow include engineering and scientific, professional and business services, health care and hospitality.

Lagging sectors include construction, all levels of government, information, retail trade, and real estate.

In terms of housing, the report said things won’t improve much. The number of new residential units approved in 2009 and 2010 were the two lowest years since the Great Depression, and next year was forecast to be about 5,700, up from 4,950 in 2011.

“The overhang of foreclosures continues to loom over the housing market, while the spectacle of little new construction in the pipeline leaves little being added to accommodate San Diego’s slow but still growing population,” the report said.

— Mike Allen