San Diego’s economic prospects continue to improve, however, in baby steps.
The latest economic index from the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate rose 1 percent in March, propelled by gains in the number of building permits issued, fewer claims for unemployment insurance, and greater number of help wanted ads.
Of six components of the index — the other three are consumer confidence, the outlook for the national economy and local stock prices — five increased. Only local stock prices fell, but it was a measly 0.36 percent drop.
With the March increase, the index has risen or been unchanged for two years.
Alan Gin, the USD economics professor who compiles the index, said the outlook for the local economy remains positive. He noted the labor market seems to be improving, citing an annual gain through last month of 24,700 jobs. Sectors showing gains include administrative and support; professional and technical services; and leisure and hospitality.
However, the March jobless rate of 10.2 percent remains high, and has been in double digits for 22 consecutive months, Gin said. “It will take another four years to get back to the same level of employment as the peak of December 2007,” he said.
In another bit of sobering news, the report noted the advance figure for the gross domestic product for the nation in the first quarter was 1.8 percent as bad weather and disruptions from the disaster in Japan took their toll. The GDP rate in the fourth quarter was 3.1 percent.
— Mike Allen