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Unemployment Rate Rises Slightly To 8.1% In San Diego County

The office of the California Employment Development Department is seen in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.
Rich Pedroncelli / AP
The office of the California Employment Development Department is seen in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.

The unemployment rate in San Diego County rose to 8.1% in January, a slight increase from December's 8% and well above the 3.4% rate from a year ago, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 9.2% for California and 6.8% for the nation during the same period.

Between December 2020 and January 2021, total non-farm employment in San Diego County decreased by 38,600, from 1,389,500 to1,350,900. Agricultural employment had no change and remained at 8,400.


Leisure and hospitality led all month-over decline with a loss of 12,200 jobs. The cutback was primarily in accommodation and food services — down 11,500 jobs — specifically in food services and drinking places — down 10,100 jobs, according to the agency. Arts, entertainment and recreation jobs posted a loss of 700 jobs.

Trade, transportation and utilities decreased by 8,900 jobs. Retail trade led the decline, losing 6,300. Transportation, warehousing and utilities — down 2,300 jobs — and wholesale trade — down 300 — also contributed to the overall contraction.

Seven other sectors dropped over the month including construction, with 5,900 jobs lost; professional and business services, 4,500 lost; government, 3,200 lost; educational and health services 2,800 lost; other services, 900 lost; information, 200 lost; and financial activities losing 100 jobs.

Manufacturing was the only industry to post job gains, adding 100. Mining and logging remained unchanged

Between January 2020 and January 2021, non-farm employment fell by 153,700, or 10.2%. Agricultural employment decreased by 500, or 5.6%.


Leisure and hospitality recorded the largest year-over-year drop, declining by 77,100 jobs. Accommodation and food services made up 81% of the overall cut-back -- down 62,600 jobs. Arts, entertainment and recreation saw a reduction of 14,500 jobs.

Other services fell by 16,600 jobs year-over-year while government lost 16,000 jobs. The bulk of the decline was in local government, down 14,100 jobs. State government lost 1,900 jobs. Federal government payrolls remained unchanged.

All other industries declined over the year.