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The positive job growth to which I alluded in the prior entry just got a little less positive.

Last month, I noted that November losses in the housing boom beneficiary sectors — construction, retail, and finance/real estate — were acting as a drag on what would otherwise have been fairly robust overall employment growth. The same pattern presented itself in December even more noticably.

In the twelve months leading to December 2006, San Diego added 16,800 jobs outside the housing boom industries, an increase of 1.7 percent. This represents a fairly healthy increase in employment.

But the housing boom sectors didn’t do so well. Retail employment actually hung in there nicely enough, with a 0.3 percent decline from last December. This is not surprising considering the retail industry’s less direct relationship to the housing boom. (Incidentally, the rampup in recent months was holiday related. Such seasonal effects are the reason it’s better to focus on the year-over-year numbers).

Construction and finance/real estate were hit harder, though, respectively down 5.3 percent and 1.8 percent from the prior year.

In total, the three housing boom sectors shed 7,000 jobs, shrinking by 2.1 percent. These losses reduced overall San Diego employment growth to 9,800 jobs or 0.8 percent.

— RICH TOSCANO

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