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New SANDAG Analysis Finds Nearly 25% Of County Residents Are Unemployed

A closed sign outside of Gossip Grill in Hillcrest on April 2, 2020. The eatery, like many others, are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andi Dukleth
A closed sign outside of Gossip Grill in Hillcrest on April 2, 2020. The eatery, like many others, are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A map of San Diego County illustrating estimated unemployment numbers as of April 27, 2020 according to analysis by the San Diego Association of Governments.
Source: Applied Geographic Solutions, Inc.,
A map of San Diego County illustrating estimated unemployment numbers as of April 27, 2020 according to analysis by the San Diego Association of Governments.

A new analysis by the San Diego Association of Governments gives a better idea of just how many people have lost work in San Diego County since the coronavirus pandemic began.

SANDAG chief economist Ray Major said an estimated 1 in 4 residents, or 24.7 percent of the population, is unemployed. That’s about 430,000 people. About 20%, or about 360,000 San Diego County residents, have lost their jobs since March 7.

"This is completely unprecedented. These type of numbers have never been seen in San Diego. The unemployment rate we see here is pretty similar to what we had nationally during the Great Depression. So maybe going back as far as 1934," Major said.

Most of the people who have lost their jobs worked in retail, personal care services, the airline industry, restaurants and hotels and motels.

SANDAG found the areas of the county with the highest concentrations of unemployed people are:

  • Logan Heights - 34.8%
  • National City - 30.6%
  • College Area - 30.3%
  • San Ysidro - 30.1%
  • Golden Hill - 29.9%

"As we start to open up the economy people will be hired back into the jobs they had previously and you'll see the unemployment rate start to come down," Major said.
But he said the tourism industry in San Diego will probably not recover as quickly as the rest of San Diego's economy and it could take a year or two to rebound.

Major joined Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss the unemployment rate and its impact on the region.

SANDAG found about 20%, or about 360,000 San Diego County residents, have lost their jobs since March 7 when the COVID-19 pandemic began.