County unemployment rate jumps to 8 percent

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Posted at 10:43 AM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 20:47:08-05

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego County's unemployment rate jumped to 8 percent in December, after the governor's new shutdown order went into effect.

The state Employment Development Department reported Friday that the region's jobless rate rose from 6.6 percent in November to 8 percent in December, the first increase in unemployment since May.

The reductions came after Gov. Gavin Newsom instituted a new shutdown order to stop the increased spread of the Coronavirus. The order came as ICU capacity in Southern California dropped to 0.0 percent. Newsom's order limited restaurants to takeout only, forces salons to close and capped retail at 20 percent.

Payroll employment dropped by a net 5,300 jobs over the month. However, accommodation and food services dropped by 10,300 jobs. Of those, 8,800 were in food and drinking establishments.

Ricardo Zarate Jr, director of operations at Valentina restaurant in Encinitas, laid off more than two dozen people in the wake of the order.

"It is tough, not only as a manager of the location, it's also tough as a person to have to tell 26 people, 'hey you're not going to get a paycheck for the foreseeable future,'" Zarate Jr. said.

Over the year, San Diego County employers have cut 105,600 jobs, and the unemployment rate has increased from 2.8 percent in December 2019 to 8 percent in December 2020. The leisure and hospitality industry has contracted by 53,000 jobs over the year, more than 26 percent. Trade, transportation and utilities, which includes retail, is down 12,000 jobs.

In a bright spot, San Diego's life sciences and tech fields have expanded by 4,900 jobs over the year, or 3.5 percent. The San Diego Workforce Partnership connects workers to free or affordable career training programs.

The state's data was collected the week of Dec. 12, a week after Newsom announced his new shutdown order.