North County Economic Summit – Guest Post by Mike Sannella

North County Economic Summit

Last Wednesday, the San Diego North Economic Development Council hosted their 3rd annual North County Economic Summit at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa. The highly anticipated event was attended by over 400 from throughout North County.

The headliners for the event were, Mark Vitner, Managing Director and Senior Economist for Wells Fargo Securities and Josh Williams, President of BW Research. In additional to these two talented and dynamic presenters, Doug Green, the 2016 California Teacher of the Year spoke to the group about the importance of the innovation in education. Doug teaches in the Carlsbad Unified School District. Following the keynote speakers was an informative panel discussion with regional leaders on the topic of “The Quality of Life Equation for North County: Work, Housing, and Transportation”.

The SDNEDC defines North County as the area between State Highway 56 to the south and the Orange and Riverside County lines to the north. According to the data presented at this year’s Summit, as an economic region San Diego’s North County has approximately 1.2 million residents and 470,000 jobs. The region has a larger population than eight states in the Country, including Vermont, Rhode Island and Alaska, along with more employment than five states including Delaware, Wyoming and South Dakota.

Other key findings from the presented document “2016 North County Prospects: Innovation, Economy, People, Place” included:

  • In 2015, North County’s economy continued to demonstrate strong growth, with approximately two and a half percent growth in employment resulting in an additional 11,000 jobs for the region and an unemployment rate below five percent (4.4%).
  • Aerospace & Defense, Pharmaceuticals & Breweries are driving growth in manufacturing employment in North County – From 2010 to 2015 manufacturing employment has grown slightly faster in North County than the rest of San Diego County (13.3% vs. 12.3%) and considerably faster than California as a whole (13.3% vs. 2.9%).
  • Energy, water and uncertainty within the regional economy – Every year, the uncertainty surrounding water and energy supply and pricing seems to grow. While the El Nino conditions have marginally improved the region’s water supply, there are continued concerns that the region will face long-term water shortages which will also impact both energy supply and consumption.
  • Housing costs to average wages and the ability to find housing for young working families – North County continues to experience some of the highest housing costs to average wage ratios in the country. Almost half (48%) of all North County renting households spend more than 35% of their income on housing costs.

The San Diego North Economic Development Council brings community leaders, elected officials, Chambers of Commerce, EDCs, and businesses together to work collaboratively on improving the quality of life for the greater San Diego region. It provides forums for community engagement by providing opportunities to discuss and be actively involved in current economic development issues, trends and strategies. By spearheading strategic initiatives, policies and programs it seeks to strengthen our regional economy and improve our quality of life.

Mike Sannella serves on the Board of Directors for the San Diego North Economic Development Council, is an elected Board Member of Vallecitos Water District, and resides in San Marcos.