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Report: Military remains economic bright spot in San Diego

Design Lab member Michael Meyer discusses San Diego's defense economy during Covid with ABC 10 News San Diego.

The coronavirus pandemic appears to have been no match for San Diego's defense economy, which a new report says keeps on growing.

The San Diego Military Advisory Council study says from the fiscal year 2020 to 2021, direct defense spending was $35.3 billion dollars, a 5.3 percent annual gain. Jobs grew 2 percent to nearly 349,112. In all, it made for a $55.2 billion dollar gross regional product.

"That means continued stability and economic prosperity for San Diego, buffered by, or provided by the military economy presence," said Michael Meyer, a professor at UC San Diego's Rady School of Management, which researched the report.

The study points out that military spending impacts more than the people employed by the federal government or serving on base or active duty. Instead, there's a multiplier effect in San Diego, with nearly 190,000 San Diegans employed by private companies contracting with the defense department -- such as in programming or shipbuilding.

"Retraining for electronics, computers, aviation, the engineering fields, the technical financial fields. That's all valuable and an effective way of getting into the military economy," Meyer said.
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