A new San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) study shows the defense industry and military operations continue to be a major driver of the area’s economy and are projected to grow, Stripes.com reported Thursday.
The 2019 San Diego Military Economic Impact Study concluded that 354,000 military-connected jobs accounted for 22% of all regional jobs and contributed $51 billion or one-fifth of area’s gross regional product, according to the report.
The yearly report also projects the economic impact will increase 7% next year as the National Defense Strategy continues shifting west and more Navy ships are based in San Diego, Stripes.com said.
In 2015 fewer than 50 Navy ships were based in San Diego, but by 2020 the Navy projects 65 local ships. The ships’ impact on the economy is significant with just one aircraft carrier generating $800 million in GRP, the according to the study.
Currently San Diego has the aircraft carriers USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and the currently deployed USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) home-ported locally.
However, Cmdr. Ron Flanders, Naval Air Forces Command spokesperson said it is “very possible” San Diego could receive a third carrier, Stripes.com said.
The SDMAC study estimates 143,000 people are directly employed by the military, including reservists, DOD civilians and VA personnel. The number is projected to grow to more than 150,000 in 2020, according to the report.
The jobs create a “ripple effect” in the local economy, according to Rear Adm. (Ret,) Mark Balmert, the executive director of SDMAC.
“Service members purchase cars, pay rent and buy homes,” Balmert said.
One out of six sailors in the U.S. Navy and more than one out of every four Marines are stationed across San Diego’s bases, amounting to 56,000 sailors and 52,000 Marines, according to the study.
SDMAC is a local nonprofit that promotes “mutual business and other interests of the military, their quality of life and the defense community,” according to their website.
Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Abby Rader