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Daily Business Report — Dec. 21, 2009

County Jobless Rate Declines in November

The unemployment rate in San Diego County in November was 10.3 percent — down from 10.7 in October but above the year-ago estimate of 6.9 percent, the state Employment Development Department reported. Nonfarm employment was up 4,500 jobs over the month, but down 43,300 over the year.

The unadjusted unemployment rate for California in November was 12.2 percent. The national jobless rate was 9.4 percent.

Between October 2009 and November 2009, total nonfarm employment in the county increased from 1,246,500 to 1,251,000, a gain of 4,500 jobs.

Agricultural employment declined by 200 jobs, or 1.8 percent.

• Trade, transportation, and utilities reported the greatest month-over gain, adding 3,400 jobs. Transportation, warehousing and utilities (down 200) and wholesale trade (down 100) offset seasonal advances in retail trade (up 3,700), primarily from general merchandise stores (up 1,400) and clothing and clothing accessories stores (up 1,000).

• Three other industry sectors reported month-over gains, including government (up 1,200 jobs), professional and business services (up 800 jobs) and educational and health services (up 500 jobs). Information and mining and logging posted no change in employment levels over the month.

• Five industry sectors posted month-over declines, including leisure and hospitality (down 400 jobs) and manufacturing (down 100 jobs). Construction, financial activities and other services contracted by 300 jobs each.

Between November 2008 and November 2009, total nonfarm employment decreased by 43,300 jobs, or 3.4 percent. Agricultural employment declined by 200 jobs, or 1.8 percent.

• Government recorded the only year-over gain, adding 200 jobs. Local government (down 2,700) offset employment growth in federal government (up 1,900) and state government (up 1,000).

• Three industry sectors, including educational and health services, other services and mining and logging reported no change in employment levels over the year.

• Professional and business services posted the greatest year-over decline, down 9,800 jobs. Administrative and support and waste services (down 6,600) was responsible for more than two-thirds of the job loss in this sector, mainly from employment services (down 4,800).

Shea Homes Begins New Home Construction

Shea Homes San Diego began construction last week on 32 new homes in five San Diego neighborhoods and reported that it also closed escrow on 22 homes during the same period — the company buoyed by news of a nearly 9 percent increase in housing starts nationwide.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, new residential construction permits rose 6.0 percent in November and housing starts increased 8.9 percent, in both cases exceeding market expectations. Permits have risen 17.3 percent above their low in April, and starts have advanced 19.8 percent above their April low point. These gains reflected increases in single-family activity, while multi-family starts have increased modestly.

“November was a promising month, our best this year, and it’s great to see December looking equally strong,” said Vanessa Linn, vice president of sales and marketing for Shea Homes. “The demand for homes is proving to be consistent, and we are prepared to meet that ongoing demand. There’s still a sense of urgency to take advantage of value pricing, low interest rates and tax credits.”

New home construction is now under way in five Shea Homes neighborhoods:

Clover at Windingwalk in Chula Vista features two-  and three-story condominium homes priced from the mid $300,000s.

Chaparral Ridge in Escondido is a single-family detached home neighborhood priced from the low $500,000s.

Mandolin at Del Sur in San Diego is a condominium community priced from the high $400,000s.

Estrella in San Miguel Ranch in Chula Vista features single-family homes priced from the high $500,000s.

Sapphire at Windingwalk in Chula Vista is priced from the high $400,000s.

Brookfield Homes Hires New Director of Marketing

Residential builder Brookfield Homes has named Debby King as the new director of marketing at its San Diego/Riverside division. King has more than 10 years experience in the industry. She is responsible for all aspects of marketing for the Del Mar-based homebuilder with new-home neighborhoods now selling throughout San Diego and Riverside counties. Among her first responsibilities is to improve the division’s online presence, including major improvements to the company’s Website. A cum laude graduate with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and liberal studies from the California State University at Fresno, King’s educational background also includes several marketing courses she has taken toward earning a master’s degree in business administration from the Sid Craig School of Business.

SANDAG Names Land Use and Transportation Planning Chief

SANDAG has named CharlesMuggsStoll the agency’s new director of land use and transportation planning.Stoll, currently the SANDAG TransNet program manager, takes over the position at the end of the month.

“One of this agency’s primary roles is to plan for San Diego’s future. That entails marrying all the general plans of the individual cities and the county into a comprehensive plan for the entire region,” said Executive Director Gary Gallegos. “Muggs has just the right mix of background and temperament to accomplish that type of task, as well as the many other duties of the position.”

As director of land use and transportation planning, Stoll will oversee a department of approximately 40 employees. In addition to land use planning, the department also handles public transportation, environmental, energy, and binational planning.

Stoll joined SANDAG in April 2007 after spending more than 20 years with the California Department of Transportation, where he gained experience in project development and environmental planning. He served as the project director for the South Bay Expressway and guided the project through its planning and development stages.

Stoll received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1983 and a master’s in business administration in 1985, both from San Diego State University. He has been a Registered Professional Engineer in California since 1988.

Simon Appointed to Psycological Association Committee

Robert A. Simon, a licensed psychologist based in San Diego, has been appointed to a three-year term on the ethics committee of the California Psychological Association by the organization’s board of directors. The ethics committee consults with association members and the board of directors on questions of professional ethics. Simon has 25 years experience

as a licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist and is in private practice in San Diego. Simon is a member of the board of of Kids’ Turn San Diego and a founding member of the San Diego Family Law Council for Children.

The Daily Business Report is a product of REP Publishing Inc., publisher of San Diego Metropolitan magazine and the North Park News.

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