Around One in Four SD Workers Employed in Military Industry

The military industry made up more than a quarter of San Diego County’s laborers in 2009, according to an economic impact report by Export Access, a student-run research group at the UCSD School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.

The San Diego Military Advisory Council commissioned the labor report to analyze the economic impact of defense industry jobs in San Diego.

The Defense Department added 26,547 jobs to San Diego County in 2009, totaling 354,627 jobs, which make up 26 percent of the county’s laborers. Of those, 136,664 are direct employees of the military and 217,963 are indirect employees, or those affected by Department of Defense expenditures. Marines make up 41.8 percent of the direct jobs, 41.5 percent work in the Navy and 16.8 percent are civilians.

The study also reported that the industry contributed $18.2 billion to the county’s economy. For the 2011 fiscal year, the industry is projected to spend $20.6 billion, as an additional 4,000 Marines and 30 Navy ships are expected in the county by 2012.

San Diego Military Advisory Council executive director Larry Blumberg noted that approximately $10 million of direct spending is put toward procurement, which includes shipbuilding though General Dynamics Nassco and programs that are managed by aerospace and welfare systems close to the Pacific Coast Highway.

“[The military] runs everything from blue collar jobs and working in ship yards to highly technical research type of jobs,” SDMAC executive director Larry Blumberg said. “There is also significant defense money spent in universities, including in [UCSD].”

The Department of Defense sets aside funding for universities, including scholarship programs such as the Science, Mathematics & Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship, which four UCSD students received in 2006, as well as money for research programs.

In 2007, SDMAC decided it was necessary to document its impact in the county.

“We felt it was important to document the economic impact because this is the largest concentration of the military, we believe, in the world,” Blumberg said. “The amount that the presence of the large group of military people and facilities impacts the region needs to be quantified rather than guessed at.”