Located in Southern California, the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos metropolitan area has a robust business environment. There are five Fortune 1000 company headquarters located in the San Diego area, and numerous others throughout Southern California. The largest company headquartered in the San Diego area is Sempra Energy. The most famous are probably Jack in the Box, Petco Animal Supplies, and Qualcomm.
The San Diego area is home to many world renowned research centers, including the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Salk Institute, the Scripps Research Institute, and the Burnham Research Institute. In addition, many major corporations also have research and development labs in San Diego, including Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and Texas Instruments.
The San Diego area has one of the most highly educated work forces in the United States. According to the United States Census Bureau, San Diego ranked as the tenth best educated city in the United States with 39% of the population holding a college degree or higher. In 2005, Central Connecticut State University ranked San Diego as one of the forty most literate cities in America.
In its 2006 list of "Best Cities for Doing Business" in the United States, Inc. magazine ranked the San Diego metropolitan area twentieth in the large cities category. Inc. has ranked San Diego in the top 20 for all three years of the survey (2004-2006). The criteria used for the list emphasizes regional growth. San Diego was also well ranked on Forbes magazine's 2005 list of "Best Places For Business and Careers". Forbes ranked San Diego twenty-fifth out of the 150 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. In the same survey, Forbes also ranked San Diego twenty-first for job growth. The San Diego metropolitan area also achieved a "5-Star Business Opportunity Metro" ranking from Expansion Management's 2005 Mayor's Challenge ranking of the "Top Business Opportunity Metros." Ranking criteria used in the survey include business climate, transportation and logistics infrastructure, quality of life, public education, and other areas important for corporate site selection.
San Diego's economy was traditionally heavily dependent on tourism and defense. Initiatives by public officials in the 1980s have helped to diversify the San Diego area economy and make it less dependent on its traditional base. The San Diego metropolitan area has become a center for biotechnology, communications, computer and electronics manufacturing, medical equipment manufacturing, pharmaceutical development, and software development and computer services. In 2004, the Milken Institute ranked San Diego as the number one biotech cluster in the United States.
The United States Military has a major presence and impact on the San Diego area economy. There is a major Navy and Marines Corps presence in and around San Diego. San Diego is the home port of the largest naval fleet in the world, including the carriers USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan, and many other navy ships.
Another major influence on the San Diego area's economy is the Port of San Diego. Not only is the port home to a major U.S. Navy presence, it is also a major port of embarkation for cruise ships, as well as home to the largest ship building plant on the west coast, General Dynamics NASSCO. It is the only shipyard on the west coast capable of building and repairing large ocean-going vessels.
For business travelers, the San Diego metropolitan area is served by the San Diego International Airport (SAN). SAN is the thirtieth busiest airport in the United States.
Notable companies in the San Diego metropolitan area include:
- Edison International
- General Dynamics NASSCO
- Jack in the Box
- Petco Animal Supplies
- Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC)
- Sempra Energy
Major business organizations in the San Diego area include:
- CommNexus (Formerly known as the San Diego Telecom Council)
- The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
- The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.
- The San Diego Software Industry Council (SDSIC)