SAN DIEGO (KGTV): A new study from the San Diego Military Advisory Council says the military industry in the area is the top economic driver.
The SDMAC's "Military Economic Impact Study" says the armed forces spent $26 billion in San Diego in 2018. That includes compensation for military employees (43%), procurement and other spending like defense contracts (38%) and retirement and veterans' benefits (19%).
Additionally, the ripple effect of all that money creates $50 billion worth of San Diego's Gross Regional Product. That's 22% and accounts for more than tourism or tech industries.
The military also helps support 340,000 jobs in the county. That's 22% of the jobs across San Diego. It includes members of the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Reserves and civilians employed by the DOD, DHS or VA. It's the largest concentration of military employees anywhere in the world.
There are also over 241,000 retirees or military veterans in the area, according to the study.
Meanwhile, the study says the military's impact should grow in the future. It anticipated 4% growth next year.
It could be more in the coming few years. President Trump recently announced a pay raise for military enlistees. He also signed a $717 billion defense budget for 2019, the largest ever. The Navy plans to homeport 20 more ships and approximately 15,000 more sailors to San Diego by 2025. And the Army has listed San Diego as a possible location for it's new "Future Command" post researching emerging technology.
But the military faces some challenges in the coming years as well. Housing is a big issue, especially if the Navy wants to expand in San Diego. There are also concerns about the high cost of living in the area. And SDMAC says they're looking for ways to help military spouses find jobs. One of the biggest roadblocks they see is that California doesn't recognize many out-of-state certificates for jobs like teachers, nurses and real estate agents.
The full report comes out at 10:30 am on Thursday.