The UCLA Anderson economic forecast calls for a continued “solid, tepid” recovery from the “Great Recession” across the United States, but noted that San Diego’s economy has moved strongly ahead.

“The recovery is over. Let’s call it what it is, an expansion,” said Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast, in explaining the prospects for San Diego.

Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast.

“The best years since the Great Recession (for San Diego) are right in front of you,” he said.

The forecast was presented to business leaders Wednesday at a breakfast at the faculty club at UC San Diego.

Schniepp said 60,000 new jobs were created in San Diego County in past two years, and strong job growth will continue in 2014 and 2015. The commercial real estate, biotech, health care, tourism and retail sectors are growing strongly, he said.

The one problem for San Diego is stubbornly high unemployment. It is still at 7 percent 56 weeks after the end of the recession, and Schniepp suggested the reason was that the jobs being created require higher skills than possessed by many young high school and college graduates.

His colleague, Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist for the Anderson Forecast, said the United States is on track for 3% economic growth this year, with California as a whole doing better.

“It’s a solid, tepid recovery, but California will continue to do better than the U.S,”  he said.

He said job growth has brought U.S. employment back to the level at the beginning of Great Recession, but that’s not enough to make up for population growth since 2008.

“We’re making progress, but not enough progress,” he said “We’re still missing about 12 million jobs. So we have a long ways to go.”

On the California drought, Nickelsburg predicted the impact would be limited and could be offset by wet, “El Nino” weather in the coming year.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.