Out of Control Policy Blog

Heading out

Outforcing hits San Diego:

    For the first time in nearly a decade, more people moved out of San Diego County last year than moved here from other U.S. locales and economists say the trend could continue as local workers find it harder to cope with stagnant salaries, a high cost of living and skyrocketing home prices.

    In the past week, several major employers, including Intel and Capital One Auto Finance, announced plans to transfer hundreds of workers out of the region.

    Although each company had its own reasons for moving, some – most recently the 135-employee kelp harvester International Specialty Products – cited the growing cost of operating in San Diego County as a reason for leaving the area.

    Also, corporate relocation specialists say the area's high costs are making it increasingly hard to find newcomers to replace the companies that are departing.

    "Employees, especially if they're not executives, are finding it harder to move here when a company relocates," said Barbara Brokaw, director of relocation services at ERA Eagle Associates Realty in Carmel Valley. "We deal with people who come to San Diego to interview for a job, but when we tell them about the area, they often find that their salaries are not commensurate with what they're looking for in a house."

Same story in LA. Imagine trying to recruit businesses or new employees:

    First, where would the employees live? Our tight land-use policies function as an indirect tax, driving up the cost of housing. The median price of a home across the entire state is now more than a half a million dollars. Not long ago, people were fleeing Los Angeles for the cheap houses in Santa Clarita. Now, even the median price in Santa Clarita is above $500,000. The median housing price throughout Los Angeles County recently hit $485,000, with Ventura County up more than $649,000.

    In order to attract and retain good workers, businesses must pay significantly higher salaries so their employees can afford to live here.

The story is the same–probably worse–in the Bay Area.

Flashback: Buck Knives leaves San Diego for Idaho.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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