I can’t get too specific in headlines, as much as I’d sometimes like to, so let me quickly clarify the subject of this post: the non-housing-bubble portion of the economy grew on a year-over-year basis in July.  This is a significant milestone, as the last time the non-bubble private sector registered an annual increase in employment was back at the beginning of the big crash in October 2008.

If you aren’t sure why I am distinguishing the housing bubble-related sectors from the rest of the economy, you probably missed this article.  In brief, the idea is to separately analyze the “normal” economy (which has contracted due to the economic slowdown) from the bubble-related portion of the economy (which is falling on a more structural basis because it grew unsustainably large as a result of the distorting effects of the housing bubble).

Here’s a look at year-over-year employment changes in the housing beneficiary sectors, the rest of the private sector economy, and government:

From last July, bubble sector employment was down 2.1 percent or 5,400 jobs and government employment by .6 percent or 1,300 jobs.  The non-bubble private sector grew by .5 percent or 3,600 jobs.  Again, this has not happened for nearly two years.

The next graph shows the number of San Diego jobs each month since 2007:

Employment fell last month, as it always does in July primarily as a result of schools going on break.  But the drop was a lot shallower than last year’s and the year-over-year employment gap shrunk quite a bit from the prior month, to an annual decrease of just .3 percent or 3,100 jobs.

There is much talk of a renewed slowdown in the national economy, but as of last month, San Diego’s tentative job recovery still seemed to be on track.


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