Vibra Hospital of San Diego
San Diego County continued to create jobs in February, keeping the unemployment rate unchanged from January at 4.7 percent, state officials reported Friday.

Originally posted by Phillip Molnar

The San Diego region added 38,900 jobs over the previous 12 months, dropping the unemployment rate by 0.8 percentage points, said estimates from the state Employment Development Department.

San Diego’s rate was better than California’s 5.7 percent unemployment rate in February and 5.2 percent national average.

“Job gains from a year ago are both large and widespread,” said Lynn Reaser, chief economist for the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University, in an email. “. . . San Diego continued to buck the headwinds from the global economy and stock market’s swoon.”

Reaser said San Diego’s jobless rate should continue to improve throughout the year because of a rebound in stocks and a rise in commodity prices.

Across all industries, 1,800 jobs were created last month, after accounting for seasonal variation, Reaser said.

The largest annual increase of any employment sector was in education and health services, which added 8,500 jobs. Health care made up the bulk of hiring because of an aging population and more people with health insurance, said Alan Gin, an economist at the University of San Diego.

Gin said an area of concern was the growth of low-wage jobs, particularly leisure and hospitality, which added 7,000 jobs in the last year.

The unemployment rate could be doubled if it took into account “underemployed” people, said Tina Ngo Bartel, the director of business programs and research at the San Diego Workforce Partnership, at the 32nd San Diego County Economic Roundtable in January.

For example, in 2014 the benchmark 7.5 percent California unemployment rate jumped to 15.2 percent when it factored in people who worked part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work, said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Individual data is not available for San Diego.

Gin said it was normal, historically, to have underemployed people, but higher levels have persisted through the latest economic recovery.

“There are more people working part-time now that would rather have a full-time job compared to before the recession. That’s the bad news,” he said. “The good news is it is better than we were at the depths of the Great Recession.”

Recent jobless numbers are not the lowest they have been but not the worst either. San Diego

County’s unemployment rate went as low as 3.7 percent in April 2006 and 2.6 percent in December 1999. Unemployment shot up to 11.1 percent in July 2010.

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