Port of San Diego Generates $7.6 Billion in Regional Economic Impact


The Port of San Diego, a regional economic engine, plays a critical role in San Diego County’s economic rebound by pumping more than $7.6 billion a year into the region from employment, sales, and purchases of goods and services. The report is based on 2013 data, the most recent year for which data is available.

“The data confirms the Port of San Diego is a powerful regional economic engine with substantial benefits reaching far and wide,” said Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Dan Malcolm. “As we plan ahead, our goal is to find opportunities for additional economic growth, balanced with public open space and continued investment in the future of the tidelands and the region.”

The analysis, completed by Economic and Planning Systems, Inc., a nationally recognized land economics consulting company, breaks down the economic impact into two categories, direct impact and secondary impact, the latter including both indirect and induced effects. The Port’s direct economic impact grew 8 percent and jobs grew 9 percent in two years. The direct economic impact of the Port of San Diego is derived from sales, employment, and operating expenditures (purchases of goods and services) occurring on Port-managed property.

Secondary impacts comprise the “ripple” effects from the direct impacts and includes both indirect impact, representing spending on goods and services required to run Port businesses, and induced effects, representing employee spending on consumer goods and services.

Direct Impact

More than 33,000 jobs are located on tidelands, generating more than $4.4 billion in direct economic output. This represents an 8 percent increase in direct economic impact over the previous analysis completed using 2011 data. The number of jobs has also increased to 33,356 in 2013, a 9 percent gain.

The report shows if all jobs on Port tidelands were aggregated and compared to the largest employers in San Diego County, the Port would rank second only to the State of California, with a larger economic impact than major San Diego organizations such as theUniversity of California at San Diego and Sharp Healthcare.

The jobs are diverse –working with heavy industrial equipment, like ship repair and cargo/container processing; providing professional services like vessel insurance brokers, boat brokers, marketers and attorneys; conducting manual labor such as loading and unloading cruise passenger luggage and setting up conventions; interacting with visitors and customers in restaurants, hotels, upscale stores, boutiques and mobile street carts; and taking clients on excursions for ocean fishing, whale watching and dinner cruises.

Secondary Impact

An additional 24,600 jobs and $3.2 billion in indirect impact are generated in San Diego County based on the goods and services purchased by businesses and organizations located on Port tidelands, along with their employees. Secondary impacts are adjusted to ensure spending is not counted in both categories.

An interactive summary and full copy of the report can be found at portofsandiego.org/economicimpact.

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