News & Updates

New Regional Jobs Strategy dashboard shows very high standard of living


What San Diego lacks in affordability, it makes up for in standard of living. A new dashboard released by the Chamber and sponsored by Bank of America as part of the Regional Jobs Strategy puts San Diego in the top tier for overall standard of living behind competitor metropolitans San Jose and Austin.

(Read the full report here.)

“We have a natural advantage when it comes to standard of living – it’s what makes San Diego a great place for business. However, to reach our goal of becoming the best place to do business, we need to work on the policies, taxes, and regulations that impact our region’s affordability and business climate. The good news is those are areas we can change.”

standard-indexJerry Sanders, Chamber President and CEO

The dashboard compares 10 metros in the areas of recreation and weather (parks, bike lanes, walkability, weather); health and safety (obesity and crime); and opportunity (unemployment, poverty, and upward mobility). In the recreation category San Diego excels, ranking first with the most parks and second for weather. The region came in behind only San Francisco for the fewest days of extreme temperature: or days when the high was 90 degrees or higher, or the low was 32 or lower.

One area where San Diego falls short is the opportunity metric of unemployment. The region has the third highest unemployment rate at 5.2 percent, just under the national rate of 5.3 percent. This is substantially lower than the California rate of 6.2 percent and among competitor metros in this study, Los Angeles has the highest rate of unemployment.

Where San Diego leads in opportunity is upward mobility. San Diego lands in the top tier for that category, which measures the ability for people to change their social and economic status.

(Read the full report here.)

County Business Outlook Takes Another Dip, Finds New Low

The following content is from the September edition of the Business Forecast newsletter, sponsored by Silvergate Bank. To get these updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.

Business Forecast Highlights:
  • The see-saw continues as BOI tests new low of 15.6
  • Anticipated tightening of workforce hours partly to blame
  • No consensus on value of ethnic diversity in workplace, but…
  • Companies that highly value diversity are enjoying far more success
  • Most businesspeople see their industry as adequately diverse

Feelings on diversity in business success mixed, but those that highly value diversity are enjoying far more success

Confidence among San Diego County businesses continues to fluctuate in this month’s Silvergate Bank-sponsored Business Forecast. The Business Outlook Index (BOI) tests a new low as it moves to 15.6. The previous low, set only two months ago, was a tick higher at 15.7. The BOI ranges from -100 to +100, with zero being neutral, so the overall outlook is still in somewhat positive territory.

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Some of the drop in this month’s outlook can be attributed to businesses offering fewer workhours to employees as summer ends. Currently, only 25 percent will offer more hours and 11 percent say they will decrease the hours their workers get.

The survey also shows that businesses within the City of San Diego have lost some momentum. The trend since the beginning of this year for business located in the city has been very stable, but this month their outlook has dropped to a poor 14. Looking outside the city, firms located in the county’s north inland area took the biggest hit. Businesses there went from a BOI of 16 the previous quarter to 7. And by business size, medium-sized businesses with 11 to 49 employees have taken the brunt of this month’s drop. They regressed from a healthy 28 all the way down to 10 in this month’s survey. The main culprit of all of this downward movement is the anticipated tightening of workforce hours.

In terms of new challenges businesses are facing, the minimum wage increase remains at the forefront for many businesses. Currently, 6 percent say it is a new challenge they are dealing with. Government regulations tops the list of other concerns. In total, one-quarter indicate their biggest challenge relates to government rather than being a business-related issue.


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This month the survey asked county businesses about ethnic diversity in the workplace. The results show mixed feelings towards the value of ethnic diversity in the workplace. Forty-eight percent said diversity is very or extremely important to the success of a business. However, 22 percent regard it as unimportant and another 30 percent said it’s somewhat important.

Analysis of these results shows an impressive connection between outlook and importance of ethnic diversity. Companies that highly value diversity in the workplace are far more optimistic over the next few months than firms which see it as less important. In fact, businesspeople who say it is entirely unimportant for a workplace to be ethnically diverse slide into slightly negative territory on the BOI. The results suggest there is a real link between attitudes on diversity and optimism for improving business conditions in the near future.

We also asked firms whether companies in their industry ought to become more ethnically diverse.  Despite nearly half the businesses placing a high value on diversity, 60 percent say their industry is adequately diverse.

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Those who place more value on ethnic diversity in the overall workplace are much more likely to call for greater diversity in their own industry. Those in the arts and culture space also tend to think the industries they are involved in could use more ethnic diversity.



The San Diego County Business Forecast, sponsored by Silvergate Bank, is a scientific look at where our region’s economy is headed. The survey for this month’s installment was fielded August 16-31, 2016 by Competitive Edge Research & Communication using responses from 232 randomly-selected members of the San Diego, East County, Alpine, Escondido, Lakeside, Vista, Santee, and National City Chambers of Commerce. All Chamber members are invited to complete the survey either online or over the phone.

The Business Outlook IndexTM (BOI) is comprised of four self-reported assessments regarding the next three months: Will a respondent’s business increase or decrease its number of employees, experience an increase or a decrease in revenue, increase or decrease the number of hours its employees work, and experience an improvement or a worsening of business conditions. For each assessment, definite and positive responses are scored 100, probable and positive responses are scored 50, neutral responses are scored 0, probable and negative responses are scored -50 and definite and negative responses are scored -100. The scores are summed and divided by 4 to get a range for the BOI of -100 to +100, with zero being a neutral outlook. Visit to see past Business Forecasts.


For over 25 years, as a San Diego based community bank, Silvergate provides a rewarding banking experience where the client’s needs always come first. Our business banking experts listen to needs and work to provide customized solutions to support your company’s growth and profit objectives. Our bankers are committed to superior responsiveness, local decision making, and the agility that allows our clients to choose the way they want to bank with us. To learn more, visit or contact Dino D’Auria at

Here’s a roundup of our latest policy news

ACTION ALERT: Help San Diego End Chronic Homelessness
With more than 8,7000 homeless individuals living in San Diego, the County has reached a breaking point. Help us ensure San Diego gets its fair share of federal aid.

New Access Bridge to PedWest Pedestrian Border Crossing Completed
After much controversy and criticism was received concerning the safety of the PedWest crossing on the Mexican-side, a new permanent access bridge has been completed.

Mission to Washington, D.C. Registration Closes September 20
Don’t miss out on an incredible opportunity to meet the nation’s top policy experts while creating meaningful relationships with San Diego’s business community.

Affordable Housing Update: State Decision Still Pending
Governor Brown has until September 30 to sign or veto the Chamber-supported legislation which will increase the availability of affordable housing for San Diegans.

Chamber’s Candidate Endorsements
As the Chamber Board of Directors continue to take action on candidates and ballot propositions, we’ve compiled a quick roundup of which ones to support and oppose.

More News:

New Access Bridge to PedWest Pedestrian Border Crossing Completed

pedwest1On Monday, September 12, the Mexican federal government officially opened the new bridge connecting to the entrance to the pedestrian processing facility known as PedWest, which was inaugurated earlier this summer. The PedWest facility is part of an overall effort between Mexico and the United States to expand and modernize the entire San Ysidro facility in order to ease travel congestion between the two countries.

Previously in July – when the United States-side of the PedWest facility opened – the Mexican government received criticism for the doubted safety of the bridge connecting to the new facility with many users reporting that the structure was unstable. After considerable advocacy on behalf of the Chamber’s International Business Affairs team and its partner organizations – representatives from the Mexican federal government renewed its commitment to create a permanent structure.


Mission to Washington, D.C. Registration Closes September 20

There’s only five days left to join the Chamber’s delegation trip to Washington, D.C.! Don’t miss your chance to create meaningful relationships with San Diego’s business community while meeting the nation’s top policy officials and experts. (APPLY HERE)

cdtIn support of the delegation trip, Chamber President & CEO Jerry Sanders – along with Paola Avila, Vice President of International Business Affairs – held a joint press conference with CDT (Tijuana Economic Development Council). As the D.C. delegation represents the largest binational delegation to Washington, D.C., Gabriel Camarena, CDT’s new president, emphasized the importance of Tijuana’s private sector joining the delegation, which advocates for and benefits the entire Cali-Baja region.

The Chamber D.C. team is also hard at work building an astounding agenda for our delegates. So far, confirmed meeting and guests include:

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • McKinsey & Company – global management consulting firm who will discuss dynamics of the Presidential election and their Presidential Transition Initiative
  • National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center
  • San Diego Congressional Delegation
  • Office of Senator Diane Feinstein
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
  • Presidential Debate Viewing Party
  • Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources
  • White House Office of Science & Technology Policy
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, Labor, State, Transportation & Veterans Affairs

The D.C. team is also proud to announce the addition of two very exclusive meetings to the delegation agenda:

Breakfast with the Mexican Ambassador to the United States

During this intimate breakfast meeting, recently-appointed Ambassador Carlos Sada will detail his strategy to improve the national rhetoric and promote relations between Mexico and United States, which has faced considerable criticism since the start of the 2016 presidential election.

Breakfast with Big Data

Part IT and part politics, this breakfast session will examine how technology and data collection have been used to aid modern-day elections. From your age to your family size and the coffee shop you most frequent, our D.C. political consultants will explain how big data is leading the most innovative political campaigns.

As election season gets closer, now is the time to remind our nation’s leaders of the important issues facing our region. We hope you will join us and help bring the voice of San Diego’s business community to our nation’s capital! (APPLY HERE)

Affordable Housing Update: State Decision Still Pending

The California State Legislature adjourned August 31 without considering what could have been the most impactful reform of the session – the Governor’s housing proposal. The Chamber was supportive of the proposed framework, which could help to accelerate and increase public transit-oriented development and affordable housing development projects.

If Governor Brown’s legislation passes, new projects with 20 percent affordable housing or 10 percent near public transit would be exempt from most local reviews. As research has already shown, San Diego’s housing regulations contribute to 40 percent of housing costs, and 21 percent of San Diego’s households are priced out of the market.

But, the politics surrounding the affordable housing legislation are also complex. The solution for affordable housing consists of two elements – subsidies for developers and permitting reform. Governor Brown agreed to subsidies in the budget but made their actual appropriation contingent on the enactment of an affordable housing permitting reform bill. The Democratic leadership in both houses, buoyed by environmentalists and labor, is not favorably inclined to the governor’s proposal to deem an affordable housing project approved if it meets various critics.

The Governor has until September 30 to sign or veto the legislation.

Chamber’s Candidate Endorsements

As the Chamber’s Board of Directors continues to take action on ballot propositions and candidates, a list of formal positions (as of September 7, 2016) has been included below. A comprehensive voter guide will be released later this month.


  • San Diego City Attorney – Robert Hickey – SUPPORT
  • County Supervisor, District 3 – Kristin Gaspar – SUPPORT
  • Measure A (SANDAG) – SUPPORT
  • Measure B (Lilac Hills) – SUPPORT
  • Measure C (Chargers) – SUPPORT
  • Measure E (City Charter – Removal From Office) – SUPPORT
  • Measure H (City Charter – Contracting) – SUPPORT
  • Measure J (Charter – Mission Bay Park Lease Revenue) – SUPPORT
  • Measure K (Charter – Automatic Run-Off for City Candidates) – OPPOSE
  • Measure L (Charter – All Ballot Initiatives on November Ballot) – OPPOSE
  • Measure M (Affordable Housing Cap Increase) – SUPPORT
  • Measure N (Tax on Recreational Marijuana) – SUPPORT


  • State Senate, District 39 – Toni Atkins – SUPPORT
  • Proposition 52 (Safeguards Hospital Fees) – SUPPORT
  • Proposition 53 (Voter Approval of Bonds) – OPPOSE
  • Proposition 54 (State Legislation Transparency) – SUPPORT


  • U.S. Congress, District 49 – Darrell Issa – SUPPORT
  • U.S. Congress, District 52 – Scott Peters – SUPPORT

Chamber Meets with the Consul General of Mexico in San Diego

consul-generalThe Chamber’s International Business Affairs Committee and representatives from the Chamber staff met with Consul General Marcela Celorio and her economics department to review common goals and opportunities for collaboration. During the meeting, Celorio detailed her priorities as a Mexican federal representative, including: promoting bilingualism, voting and civic rights, and dual citizenship attainment within San Diego’s Mexican population.

Celorio and her team also confirmed commitment for high level meetings during the 2017 Mexico City delegation trip.


San Diego Public Leadership Institute’s First Binational Session

pli1The Chamber coordinated two panels for the San Diego Public Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan program for business-minded leaders wishing to explore public leadership. The panels included both former and current government officials and business representatives dedicated to the binational issues impacting our region. Panel speakers included Tijuana’s former Mayor Kurt Honold, former California Senator Denise Ducheny as well as Tijuana and San Diego City staff and bicultural experts.

The session was a great way for community members and the group of future leaders to learn how to work with our counterparts across the border on the economic, health, environmental, social and political issues shared in our Cali-Baja region.



Roundtable Discussion with Secretary Alex Padilla

apadillaThe Chamber hosted a roundtable discussion with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to examine the importance of voter registration, particularly for the upcoming election season. As of August 2016, over 73 percent of eligible Californians (over 18 million) are now registered to vote, marking the second highest statewide total ever recorded.

During the meeting, attendees discussed different aspects of voter registration, including innovative outreach approaches and the importance of using technology while still conserving the integrity of the voting process and paper trail.