The February jobs report exceeded expectations, as the U.S. economy added 235,000 new jobs, which was well over the expected 190,000, signaling steady growth ahead. More people entered the labor force and fewer gave up looking for jobs, bringing the unemployment rate down from 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent.

Looking at industries where increases in hiring were noticed, well some fared better than others. The manufacturing sector saw solid gains and construction added more jobs this year than the past 10 years. Could that be from February being one of the warmest in years, allowing for construction to continue further into the winter months?

Wages are finally also rising at a faster pace, as the pool of available workers shrinks and companies are forced to pay more to attract and maintain talent. So what does this mean for San Diego? What jobs are gaining strength here and do we have the workforce ready for those jobs?

As far as the two rising industries noted in the job report, San Diego is definitely hiring in the construction industry. Despite the rainy season we have had, the Construction industry added 3,500 jobs this last year and continues to grow. Construction laborers, as well as skilled, experienced positions such as Construction Superintendents, Civil Project engineers, Public Works Inspectors are all being sought by San Diego businesses, including City offices within San Diego County. Experience is the main component for these positions. Skills required for these positions might range from:

  • Years of experience & knowledge in the construction industry: Plumbing, Electrical, Carpentry.
  • Project Management
  • Specialized on the job training certificates
  • Appropriate licenses & certifications

Of course, San Diego is a well-known tourist destination and those jobs are gearing up at all skill levels. Leisure & Hospitality added over 5,500 jobs this last year and there are still multiple job openings, at a variety of skill levels.

  • Bartenders
  • Cooks
  • Retail talent
  • Convention Center Attendants
  • Hotel Operations
  • Marketing and Event promotions
  • Administrative

One industry San Diego has become known for, is IT and Engineering. As more software companies make San Diego their home, Amazon and Google most recently, our medical industry grows and manufacturing increases, we have noticed an upsurge in these skilled jobs, both temporary, temp to hire and direct hire positions. We find ourselves searching for experienced talent, who may hold BS Degrees or higher in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering. Positions often open as of late, include:

  • Senior Web Designers & Developers
  • iOS Software Developers
  • Engineers
  • Electronics Technicians
  • Systems Analysts
  • Programmers

With a skills gap ever present in the San Diego workforce there are people who want to work – with diverse backgrounds – but face challenges in finding gainful employment. There are employers who want to hire, but can’t seem to find the skill sets they need. If you think you have skills required to fit the job opportunities in San Diego remember these important tips:

  • Respond quickly to job postings. Employers receive hundreds, sometimes thousands, of responses to their postings. So the sooner you respond, the better your chances of getting seen.
  • Focus on a short, manageable list of prospective employers.  Develop a target list of employers and really work it: Visit their websites often; sign up for their job alerts.
  • Always customize your resume to include the keywords in the job posting. No matter how stellar your experience, your resume stands little chance of getting read if the post’s keywords don’t show up.
  • Work your network to get your resume into the right person’s hands.  Referrals go to the top of the pile.

People are feeling more optimistic as the unemployment numbers drop.  The recent hit to our job numbers in January when several retail stores, a TV station, and a small hospital closed are not reflective of 2017.  This is the time to get off of the couch and make it happen for yourself.  Get the training you need to get back into the job market and stay in it.

Categories: Job Tips with Phil Blair