Because the January and February job numbers were released so close together, I decided to just cover them both in one update.  I’m going to jump right in with the seasonally adjusted data, because unadjusted January employment is always very distorted due to temporary holiday jobs disappearing.

Total seasonally adjusted San Diego employment increased slightly in the two months since December, growing by 5,700 jobs or about .5 percent during that time.

Here is the chart of unadjusted employment, for those interested.  The drop between December and January is apparent in the chart below, but the one above makes it clear that this was entirely due to the typical post-holiday seasonality.

The year-over-year employment comparisons are starting to improve notably.  There were 19,100 more San Diegans employed in February 2011 than a year prior — an increase of 1.6 percent.  The housing bubble sectors (see this article for background) were still a drag on the economy, having shrunk by 1,300 jobs or .5 percent year-over-year.  The government sector grew by 1,900 jobs or .8 percent.  And the non-bubble private sector — the category that is most crucial to creating sustainable prosperity — grew by 18,500 jobs, an increase of 2.5 percent.

Job growth went practically nowhere last year.  (And that’s with the benefit of some positive revisions in the latest batch of estimates… as of the prior update, estimated job growth had gone literally nowhere in 2010). 

So far, there have been some encouraging signs in 2011.  Seasonally adjusted employment is moving in the right direction, and the improvement in the non-bubble private sectors seems to be getting more robust.  The recovery in employment is still quite weak, but hopefully it is in the process of becoming less so.

Rich Toscano is a financial advisor with Pacific Capital Associates*.  He can be contacted at

Rich Toscano has been observing the housing market for Voice of San Diego, with the occasional prolonged absence, since 2006. Follow him on Twitter at...

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