SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The coronavirus pandemic appears to have been no match for San Diego's defense economy, which a new report says keeps on growing.
The outbreak shuttered restaurants, canceled major conventions, and ripped away jobs from hundreds of thousands of San Diegans. But while all that was happening, a new study says our region's defense economy kept expanding.
"As we come out of Covid, most people think that there are downtrends. This report demonstrates that they're not all down," Vice Adm. (ret.) Jody Breckenridge said at a news conference Wednesday to announce the report.
The San Diego Military Advisory Council study says from the fiscal year 2020 to 2021, direct defense spending was $35.3 billion dollars, a 5.3 percent annual gain. Jobs grew 2 percent to nearly 349,112. In all, it made for a $55.2 billion dollar gross regional product.
"That means continued stability and economic prosperity for San Diego, buffered by, or provided by the military economy presence," said Michael Meyer, a professor at UC San Diego's Rady School of Management, which researched the report.
The study points out that military spending impacts more than the people employed by the federal government or serving on base or active duty. Instead, there's a multiplier effect in San Diego, with nearly 190,000 San Diegans employed by private companies contracting with the defense department -- such as in programming or shipbuilding.
"Retraining for electronics, computers, aviation, the engineering fields, the technical financial fields. That's all valuable and an effective way of getting into the military economy," Meyer said.
The San Diego Workforce Partnership has an online tool for locating retraining programs.