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Daily Business Report — Dec. 15, 2011

SD Metro Daily Business Report — Dec. 15, 2011

METRO Movers to Watch

SD Metro is soliciting nominations for our annual Metro Movers to Watch awards, which will be published in January. Send your nominations to Rebeca Page at Nominate a man or woman you believe will make outstanding contributions in San Diego County during the new year. Nominations will close on Dec. 28.

Sluggish Growth Forecast for San Diego in 2012

San Diego’s overall economy is forecast to increase 1.8 percent in 2012, the strongest increase in six years, but the outlook is for still sluggish growth, according to the National University System Institute for Policy Research. After losing 102,400 jobs between 2007 and 2009, San Diego added 36,000 in 2010 and 2011. Another 21,000 are forecast to be added in 2012, reaching just over half-way to a full recovery in job numbers. Despite employment rising, San Diego’s unemployment rate is projected to only slightly decline from 10.0 percent in 2011 to 9.8 percent in 2012. With additional job seekers and “re-entrants”— those who fell out of the labor force because they were too discouraged to actively seek employment, employment gains will be nearly matched by increases in the total labor force.

San Diego will continue to see challenges in the kinds of jobs being created and the wages that San Diegans receive, the institute said. Most jobs being created are relatively low-skilled (and low-paid) that cannot be replaced either by machines or easily sent overseas — such as home nursing and landscape gardening. Jobs are also being created for the highly skilled, notably in science, engineering and management. This is particularly true for high-cost areas of California, such as San Diego, where job growth prospects are also limited by the state’s onerous taxes and draconian regulatory environment.

Professional and business services, health care, and hospitality industries lead San Diego’s job recovery. Wholesale trade (not retail), transportation, warehousing, and utilities, and even some manufacturing are also adding workers at slower paces.

Lagging employment sectors include construction, all levels of government (other than military and public education), information, retail trade, and real estate. As the military winds down troop numbers in 2012, government employment locally is expected to decline.

Housing construction remains relatively modest after building activity fell to depression-era levels. The institute projects housing units to be built will increase, but not enough for construction employment to recover. The overhang of foreclosures continues to loom over the housing market, while the spectacle of little new construction in the pipeline leaves little being added to accommodate San Diego’s slow but still growing population.

Governor to Attend Soitec HQ Dedication

Governor Brown will give remarks on Friday at the dedication of Soitec’s new North American solar headquarters and manufacturing plant in San Diego. Soitec produces concentrated photovoltaic modules for large-scale utility power plants. The San Diego headquarters will create 450 local, skilled jobs and enable a manufacturing capacity of 200 MW of clean power, according to the company.  

The dedication is set for 10 a.m. at 16550 Via Esperillo.

Cubic Corp. Awarded Middle East Contract

Cubic Corp. has signed a contract with a Middle East customer to provide markmanship and small arms training capabilities. The contract, worth more than $120 million with various options, is the largest single contract awarded to the San Diego-based company’s Simulation System Division, based in Orlando, Fla. Under the contract, Cubic will provide immersive training equipment for a variety of weapons at more than 20 sites. The capabilities include a wide range of tactical requirements including sniper, mortar and close air support. “This contract underscores Cubic’s commitment to our security partners in the Middle East region,” said Bradley Feldmann, president of Cubic Defense Applications.

SDSU Alumnae Honored by the White House


San Diego State University alumnae Angela Byars-Winston (’91, ’92) was one of 12 men and women honored by the White House as “Champions of Change,” recognized for leadership in the effort to recruit and retain girls and women in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM fields. Byars-Winston, who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SDSU, is a counseling psychologist and associate professor in the University of Wisconsin Department of Medicine and the UW Center for Women’s Health Research. Her research examines cultural influences on academic and career development, especially for racial and ethnic minorities and women in the sciences, engineering and medicine, with the aim of broadening their participation in STEM. The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Barack Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Byars-Winston is currently principal investigator for a grant from the National Institutes of Health to measure the impact of mentored research experiences on career outcomes for diverse undergraduates in biology and biomedical science and co-investigator of another NIH grant to promote retention of racial and ethnic minority doctoral students in the biological and behavioral sciences.

NASSCO Gets Contract for USS Boxer Work

General Dynamics NASSCO has been awarded a $15 million contract for maintenance and modifications to amphibious assault ship USS Boxer. Work will be performed through May 2012. The contracting agency is the Southwest Regional Maintenance Center.

Local Researchers Named to Melanoma Study Group

Two groups of San Diego researchers — one from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and the other a collaboration between The Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Health — have been named part of a team to find innovative new ways to fight melanoma using a personalized medicine approach. The researchers will receive three years of funding from Stand Up To Cancer and the Melanoma Research Alliance. The project, which will receive a grant of $6 million, will explore a personalized medicine approach to treating metastatic melanoma and may also lay the groundwork for fighting many other tumor and disease types.

Verant Group to Open Barleymash in Downtown San Diego

San Diego restaurant company Verant Group will launch its next venue — barleymash — on March 10 at Fifth Avenue and Market Street in Downtown. The new restaurant will replace the current tenant, Whiskey Girl. Barleymash will serve a progressive bar fare menu offering traditional options such as burgers and steak, as well as dishes that implement barley, a key ingredient in whiskey and beer. The restaurant also plans to serve a range of beer and spirits, including locally developed microbrews. The company operates six bars and restaurants across San Diego and one in Arizona. Among its San Diego venues are West Coast Tavern and True North Tavern in North Park, Offshore Tavern and Grill in Bay Park, Sandbar Sports Grill in Mission Beach and Tavern at the Beach in Pacific Beach.

Doug Wilson Takes Water District Seat

Doug Wilson, former general manager of the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, has taken a seat on the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He joins Lynne L. Heidel, Keith Lewinger and Fern Steiner as San Diego County Water Authority representatives on the 37-member board. Wilson also served as Padre Dam’s general manager from July 2006 until his retirement in December 2010. Previously, he was the Padre Dam’s director of finance for nine years.

Gemological Institute to Establish Laboratory in Japan

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA)  in Carlsbad has announced plans to establish a laboratory in Japan in 2012. A GIA facility in Israel is scheduled to open in the same year. “We are excited to develop a presence in Japan,” said Donna Baker, president and CEO of GIA. “Japan, along with India and China, are the world’s leading diamond markets, behind the U.S.”

The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of SD METRO, the North Park News and the West Coast Craftsman. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.

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Voice Your Opinion

We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: