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SANDAG: San Diego Jobless Rate Jumps More Than Sixfold To 20.6%

A closed sign at the Currant American Brasserie in downtown San Diego on Marc...

Photo by Andi Dukleth

Above: A closed sign at the Currant American Brasserie in downtown San Diego on March 26, 2020. The cafe is one of many businesses that had to close down because of the COVD-19 pandemic.

San Diego County's unemployment rate has gone from 3.3% before the coronavirus pandemic to roughly 20.6%, according to a new analysis from the San Diego Association of Governments.

The agency compiled estimated unemployment rates by zip code as of mid-April, finding Logan Heights has the highest rate at 26.5%. Other historically disadvantaged communities such as San Ysidro, National City, City Heights and Encanto were also among the hardest hit.

But even wealthier neighborhoods are seeing record high unemployment — Scripps Ranch and La Jolla are experiencing jobless rates of 17.3% and 17.8%, respectively, according to the analysis.

SANDAG chief economist Ray Major said the tourism sector, with jobs in hotels, entertainment and high-end restaurants, has had the most dramatic losses. And with business travel at a virtual standstill for the foreseeable future, he doesn’t expect a quick recovery.

RELATED: Record Number Of Unemployment Claims Filed As San Diegans Struggle To Make Ends Meet

Reported by Andrew Bowen

"Businesses usually look at business travel to conventions as kind of discretionary travel anyway, so you're not going to send your people if you're going to put them into risk," Major said. "We're going to see probably a year, year and a half for the tourism industry here in San Diego to come back to where it was before."

Downtown San Diego, with its high concentration of jobs related to business travel and hospitality, has seen the highest number of layoffs. Mission Valley has also suffered greatly, with many retail outlets and restaurants that serve the neighborhood's many office parks shutting down.

Sorrento Valley, with jobs in tech, health care and education, has proved to be more resilient to the pandemic's disruptions, as has Kearny Mesa with its industrial and manufacturing jobs.

Major said while some sectors of the economy will recover more quickly than others, the job losses are likely nearing their peak.

"Almost everybody who is going to be let go because of the lockdown orders has probably already filed for unemployment," he said. "So in April we should be seeing the bottom or some of the worst numbers, maybe early May."

Listen to this story by Andrew Bowen.


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Photo of Andrew Bowen

Andrew Bowen
Metro Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover local government — a broad beat that includes housing, homelessness and infrastructure. I'm especially interested in the intersections of land use, transportation and climate change.

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