We’ve used the “San Diego-style recession” characterization several times now, but what does USD economist Alan Gin mean when he says that?

I caught him on the phone this morning to go over it again.

“At the national level a recession is a decline in the economy either measured by GDP dropping for a couple of quarters, or massive job losses,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll see either here in San Diego.”

For one thing, he said, it’s tough to get data on the gross regional product — what would be the San Diego-equivalent to the GDP, because its data only comes out once a year. Still, Gin says he doesn’t think year-over-year drops in that measure are in store. Instead, he’s projected growth, albeit very slow growth — maybe 5,000 to 8,000 jobs this year.

That’s significantly down from a decade ago, he pointed out.

“Back in the late ’90s we were adding 45,000 throughout the year,” he said.

So, technical definitions aside — what’s it going to feel like? Does it matter if we technically still have job and GRP growth if everybody feels like we’re in a recession?

“Either way it’s a problem,” he said. “Some people will cut back ’cause they’re worried about where things are headed but others will cut back because they lost their jobs. It just feels like a recession here in San Diego because things have been so good.”

Without cyclical industries like auto manufacturing and steel production that have contributed to the surprise declines reported today for the national economy, San Diego will recover more easily, Gin predicts.

Earlier this week, when I heard BofA Chief Market Strategist Joe Quinlan speak, he’d added this about the national economy:

“I don’t think we’re going to go into a recession,” he said. “But if we do, I think we’re going to talk ourselves right into it.”

What’s your take? Do you feel like we’re already in a recession? What kind of purchases are you continuing to make or thinking twice about because of the economic situation? Click my name below to send me an e-mail.

KELLY BENNETT

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