An estimated 25% of the county's gross regional product came from direct military spending, according to the San Diego Military Advisory Council's Military Economic Impact Report for Fiscal Year 2020.
The military accounted for $33.6 billion in direct spending in San Diego County, with an increase of 5.7% over 2019.
The money is vital in a year when the coronavirus and steps to control the pandemic brought San Diego's economy to a near halt.
“Even though there was a global pandemic that has created lasting impact to our economy, steady military spending, sustained employment and community support has helped to stabilize the region,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.
Those dollars include payroll, benefits for military and veterans and defense contracts, which totaled an estimated $17.5 billion to 2,000 local businesses, large and small.
Military and defense spending provided an estimated 342,000 jobs in 2020. That's one out of every five jobs in San Diego County. Despite jobs losses during COVID-19, the number of those jobs grew by 7% since last year. More than 153,000 service members and civilians work on the 20 military installations in the county.
“The demand for operational forces around the world did not stop just because we were in the midst of a pandemic,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel Conley, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West.
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The three San Diego-based aircraft carriers alone bring $767 million to the region, employing more than 9,000 people. Combined, those carriers represent the eighth largest employer in the county.
For the first time in the 12 years since SDMAC began the study, a new, more conservative model was developed to compile the data by the Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego.
Click here for more information on the San Diego Military Advisory Council's Military Economic Impact Report for Fiscal Year 2020.