The San Diego economy has rebounded more quickly from the recession than most U.S. metros. GMP was forecast to rise 2.5 percent in 2013 and increase to 4 percent in 2014. Much of the region's growth can be attributed to the weak dollar, which attracts foreign tourists, and continued government and military spending. The military serves an important role in the economy, both directly and indirectly. In recent years, the Navy has relocated carriers and ships to San Diego. Employment in the manufacturing segment in the metro declined in recent years, but the outlook is positive, particularly for firms making semiconductors, electronics and ships.
San Diego has one of the largest concentrations of biotech companies in the country, with an estimated 500 firms located in the county. Neurocrine Biosciences and Nventa Biopharmaceuticals both have headquarters in San Diego. The presence of nonprofit research institutions, including the Scripps Clinic, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation, and the University of California, San Diego, spawn growth in the biotech and biomedical industries.
Tourism plays an integral part in San Diego’s economy, with more than 31 million visitors per year pumping an estimated $7.5 billion into the area. The tourism industry is the third largest revenue generator, behind manufacturing and the military. The San Diego Convention Center attracts over 550,000 guests annually and non-stop air service now available to Asia should expand Asian tourism.
The San Diego region is characterized by canyons and hills separating mesas along the Pacific Ocean in southern California. The Cuyamaca and Laguna mountains rise east of San Diego, and beyond those are desert areas. The San Diego River runs through the middle of the city.
The San Diego metro is located entirely within San Diego County and has a population of nearly 3.2 million. The city of San Diego contains more than 40 percent of the population, while six of the metro’s largest cities each contain a population of more than 100,000 residents. The metro is expected to grow at an annual rate of 0.8 percent over the next five years.