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Unemployment Drops To Lowest Rate Since Early April, SANDAG Report Finds

A hiring sign taped on the wall of Ocean Ice Cream in Pacific Beach on June 21, 2020.
Alexander Nguyen
A hiring sign taped on the wall of Ocean Ice Cream in Pacific Beach on June 21, 2020.

The estimated unemployment rate in San Diego County fell to 13.3%, nearly 12 points lower than the region's peak in May, a report released Thursday by the San Diego Association of Governments found.

Unemployment has slowly declined from the high of 25% the week of May 9, with a noticeable spike from 15.1% to 17.4% in early July due in part to the closure of indoor businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since that second spike, the unemployment rate bounced between 15% and 16% before dropping below 14% in the latter part of August and early weeks of September.


While the region has recovered somewhat from those closure orders, the 13.3% figure SANDAG reported Thursday is still 2.5 points higher than at the height of the Great Recession in 2009-10.

"The new statewide guidelines make it challenging for many businesses to resume full operations," said SANDAG Chief Economist Ray Major. "This has resulted in continued high levels of unemployed workers and dramatic declines in economic activity and consumer spending for the foreseeable future."

That unemployment rate includes an estimated 226,000 workers, compared to the approximately 50,000 people out of work — or 3.1% — before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hardest-hit ZIP codes largely remain unchanged from previous reports, with San Diego's Logan Heights neighborhood topping of the list at 17.6% unemployed. Neighborhoods such as Golden Hill, City Heights, the College area and San Ysidro, as well as portions of Vista, Oceanside, Escondido and National City all reported unemployment rates of 14.6% or higher.

These estimates are based on unemployment insurance claims, unemployment insurance payments and unemployment statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The ZIP codes least affected, with unemployment rates under 12%, include Del Mar, Point Loma, Coronado, La Jolla and some inland communities in North and East County.