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Job Losses Stagger San Diego’s Economy

Photo by Erik Anderson

Normally unseen open parking spots in the business section of Ocean Beach on Mar. 25, 2020.

Shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions have combined to grind San Diego County's economy to a near standstill.

Some economists say the state’s unemployment rate, a record low 3.5% in February, could climb to 13% in May.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

Nearly 40 San Diego hotels have shut down including the iconic Hotel del Coronado. Restaurants, tourism companies, and many retail outlets are closed with the shutdowns happening quickly.

RELATED: Waves, Beaches Empty As San Diego Steps Up Fight Against Virus Spread

The longer the economy remains idle, the more help the economy will need to regain strength.

“The difference here is that the economy is fundamentally healthy, but these measures we’re taking have created a short term spike in unemployment,” said Daniel Enemark, an economist with the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

The big uncertainty remains how long social distancing policies will be needed to protect public health.

Even small local efforts to pay workers during the shutdown may help the economy bounce back.

Reported by Erik Anderson , Video by Andi Dukleth

RELATED: City Of San Diego Moves To Ease Financial Strain From COVID-19 Crisis

Ultimately, how long the work stoppage lasts will determine how long the economic impact will be felt. Enemark said it is sort of like locking your keys in the car.

“The engine is working fine, but you can’t get it to run because the keys are locked in there,” Enemark said. “As soon as AAA comes and bails you out, you could start the car again and everything is fine. The problem is if you left your lights on and now the battery is drained then when you get back in the car you can’t start it.”

A long shutdown because of COVID-19 could lead to a prolonged economic dip.

How long businesses remain shuttered depends largely when the spread of the virus can be stopped or slowed to manageable levels.

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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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