How Are We Doing?

Employment received a thumbs-up because the San Diego County unemployment rate continued to fall from 3.6% in fourth quarter 2017 to 3.3% in fourth quarter 2018. The local unemployment rate remained lower than the California average by more than half a percentage point. In 2018, the Professional and Business Services sector added the most jobs and remained the total job leader with nearly 251,000 employees. Want to know more about what we're measuring?

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Improved more than 1 percent from 2017 to 2018

Data Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, 2019; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, 2019

San Diego County’s unemployment rate continued to decrease through the fourth quarter of 2018 and has remained lower than the California rate.

Why is it Important?

High quality of life means a clean environment, a thriving economy, and an equitable place for all to enjoy.

  • Ensuring the benefits of low unemployment are received evenly across the community continues to be a challenge for the San Diego region. As highlighted by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation the Latinx population is the largest and fastest growing demographic population in San Diego County, yet statistically face barriers to high-skilled, high wage positions in the innovation sectors, with only 15% holding a bachelor's degree.

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2019

The Professional and Business Services sector remained the job leader with nearly 251,000 employees. For more information on the industry classifications visit the United States Census Bureau.

Regional Response


Job opportunities for San Diegans need to be inclusive for all, as employment is important for achieving personal stability and securing housing. The San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) partners with The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency through the Work Well Initiative to implement the Supported Employment Initiative to increase employment opportunities for people with lived experience of mental illness. The focus of the initiative is to build a healthy, safe community in which employment is a critical component of personal wellness and equal opportunity for all.


On April 24, 2019, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer called for a wage equity study to evaluate compensation inequality across gender and racial lines, with an intent to increase diversity in leadership positions within the City of San Diego governmental workforce. This study will be the first of its kind, making San Diego the first U.S. major city to collect evidence and develop a strategic action plan on closing the wage gap and achieving pay equity.

U.S.-Mexico Border Region

Data Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, 2019; INEGI, Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo, Indicadores estratégicos, 2019

Taking a broader, transnational view, unemployment in Tijuana, Baja California, San Diego, and California continued to decline in 2018 and are all below 2010 levels. Further detailed comparison between US and Mexico unemployment rates is difficult as collection methods and standardization techniques vary between the two jurisdictions.

What Are We Measuring?

We track the quarterly trend in unemployment rates in major urban counties, California, and the U.S. as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mexican unemployment data is reported by the Mexican National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía). We also track year-over-year change in employment in major industries and subsectors as defined by the North American Industry Classification System. Learn more about the data.