EDC Report shows AI is Important to San Diego’s Economy

A recent bit of research by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, found that AI is already important to the San Diego economy.

The study was undertaken to identify how AI is being used in San Diego County and to quantify the economic impact. The results will be surprising to some.

Perhaps the best outcome of the study will be to explain AI’s importance to the city of San Diego, California and to the rest of the United States. A good portion of Americans feel artificial intelligence is a threat to their jobs. What hasn’t been explained to them is that AI is creating jobs, good high paying jobs. And it’s powering up the capabilities of product designers, researchers and even SEO companies.

San Diego Building an Edge in the AI Powered Arena

And a better point that needs public clarification is that the world is adopting AI technology, and if San Diego doesn’t follow suit, it and the US could suffer dramatic economic peril.

Whoever utilizes AI best will have tremendous economic advantages. Whether in manufacturing, product design, human resources, or marketing, AI is delivering innovation and improved consumer satisfaction.

With respect to marketing in particular, AI marketing software stands to generate significant improvements in customer experience, analytics insights, and sales conversion rates. It can be applied to content creation, SEO, social media analytics, and sales software to create competitive advantage.

Those who don’t dive into AI whole heartedly risk becoming obsolete and without a customer market. Since San Diego is developing a forte in AI, it stands to draw talented workers thus giving the region a strength that will grow.

Ai in San Diego

According to San Diego Regional EDC’s report,

Business size is the single most important determinant of AI engagement in San Diego. Firms with more than 50 employees are three to six times as likely to have adopted, developed, or invested in AI technologies compared to those with fewer than 10 employees and two to five times as likely as those with 10 to 49 workers on the payrolls.

Screenshot courtesy of San Diego EDC report.


Small business is lagging because AI solutions have been focused on big business needs. It’s assumed that profit is only in big businesses and that only they have the budget for implementation.

There is a need to assist AI companies so they can deliver AI benefits to smaller companies. And most of San Diego’s economy is comprised of small businesses. The need then is acute.

Here’s a few of the findings of the San Diego AI study:

  • Average salary in AI/ML-concentrated industries is $127,960—3.9% above the national average for these industries and more than 70% above San Diego’s average worker salary
  • For every 1,000 jobs gained in this cluster, another 1,400 jobs are created in other industries
  • 66% of firms agreed that the use of AI and ML has created new job opportunities
  • 54% of firms agree that AI and ML are increasing the need for more workers at their business
  • 31% of jobs in AI-concentrated fields require only a high school diploma and pay an average of $22.42 per hour

The survey revealed that despite the poor current economic conditions, 62% of businesses expect to see the number of employees specifically engaged in AI-related work to grow over the next 12 months.

These industries, mostly AI developers support an estimated 175,680 local jobs and $33.3 billion in annual GRP, amounting to roughly 10 percent of total employment and 13 percent of GRP in San Diego.

Screenshot courtesy of San Diego EDC report.


Screenshot courtesy of San Diego EDC report.


We realize investment in AI would take a hit during 2020 and perhaps less funds will be available in 2021. However, the green energy boom may spur additional interest in artificial intelligence solutions. And the medical sector is keenly interested in AI technology, and this may give San Diego based health tech companies the edge they need in a global marketplace.

Why Wouldn’t San Diego Companies Adopt AI?

The San Diego EDC survey dug into the reasons why employers are hesitant to commit to AI solutions.

Screenshot courtesy of San Diego EDC report.

The issue of finding talent, training them, retaining them, and capturing sufficient capital to implement AI improvements is a big barrier.  However, San Diego may be the kind of city to keep those employees.  Of course, housing is yet another issue.

The solution may be for outsourcing since SD’s cost of living and cost of doing business must be somehow counterbalanced.

More Investment in Artificial Intelligence Solutions Needed

Because AI is a transformative technology offering so much for the economy, effort and financing has to come from the government. California’s economic struggles could actually be the impetus for investment in AI. Regardless, the Federal government will have to craft a plan and make financing available.

AI adoption in all fields has been inching along for some time now. In 2021, with labor shortages and costs rising and with business going digital, we could see faster adoption by medium sized companies.

Small companies will likely have to outsource AI services thus there is a potentially huge market for AI consultants and service providers. We’ll see more AI software products later this year.

For now, we’re still in the exploratory phase, but it’s important that we take this seriously because it takes time and talent to create a competitive edge with AI tools. And those tools will get better aiding in better performance from your consultants and marketing people.

Have a look at the latest AI marketing software, including AI stock prediction tools, AI sales tools, AI SEO solutions and AI content funnel platforms. You’ll need to determine your company’s real needs and weaknesses before you can determine who will fit into your new AI plan.


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