Originally posted by Phillip Molnar | Feb. 5, 2016 discussing the strength of the San Diego economy.

San Diego County’s economy had a strong end in 2015, a study from the University of San Diego shows.

The monthly Index of Leading Economic Indicators found, among other things, the number of building permits increased in November and December.
The index from the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, released Thursday, looks at stock prices, unemployment claims and other factors to determine how the county is doing.

The study predicts 35,000 jobs will be added to the county in 2016 with the unemployment rate dropping to 4.5 percent. That would make it the fifth year in a row that more than 30,000 jobs were added.

In July, August and September the economic indicators dropped — the first time three months had declined in row since 2006.

“We had the three months where we were down so we had some uncertainty going into the end,” said Alan Gin, author of the study. “I would say I was pleasantly surprised.”

In addition to building permits he said the number of employers hiring, and their online advertising for jobs, helped end the year on a good note.

The index found claims of unemployment insurance in November dropped to its lowest level since November 2006. At the same time, help wanted advertising hit its highest level since April 2008.

Building permits were up 1.18 percent in November at 1.09 percent in December. In total last year, 9,911 residential units were authorized, up 50 percent from the year before.

However, construction will likely take time to impact the tight housing market. In 2015, there was an average of 2.45 months of housing supply, down from a 3.1-month average in 2014, according to the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. Real estate analysts generally say six months of inventory is considered a healthy market.

Consumer confidence in San Diego County slumped at the end of the year. It was down 0.15 percent in November and down 0.21 percent in December.

Gin said he was unsure exactly why confidence was down but said it could be the result of mixed news on the economy, or international terrorist attacks.

After a positive November, local stocks took a 0.81 percent dive in December. Local stocks fell 2.6 percent overall in 2015, the Bloomberg San Diego Index shows.

At opening on Friday, the most valuable local stock per share was medical device company Illumina at $142.66 a share. Other top stocks were Ligand Pharmaceuticals at $92, PriceSmart at $72, Sempra Energy at $95 and WD-40 at $101.

This article was originally published by the San Diego Union Tribune and can be found HERE.