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San Diego unemployment drops to 6.6%; leisure, hospitality still hit hard

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Posted at 10:26 AM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 13:27:37-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The unemployment rate in the San Diego-Carlsbad Metropolitan Statistical Area dropped to 6.6% in November, down from 7.5% in October and above the year-ago estimate of 2.9%, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.9% for California, down from 9% in October. The rate is 6.4% for the nation, down from 6.6% during the same period.

According to the EDD, total non-farm employment in San Diego County increased by 14,300 jobs month-over-month -- from 1,412,000 to 1,426,300 -- while farm employment contracted from 9,500 to 9,200.

The region lost 97,700 non-farm jobs and 400 agricultural jobs over the year.

The region's unemployment rate rose to 15% in May during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to EDD data, while data from the San Diego Association of Governments showed rates of nearly 30% unemployment in May.

The November data reported Friday does not include regional stay-at-home orders which Gov. Gavin Newsom put in place for California regions this month with fewer than 15% of their intensive care unit beds available. Thursday's data from the state claimed Southern California had filled its ICU beds as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, but San Diego County health officials reported 16% of local beds were still available.

Trade, transportation and utilities led all industry sectors in month- over-month job gains at 8,200. Retail trade, up 6,500, and transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 1,800, logged increases in jobs. Within the category of retail trade, clothing and clothing accessories stores -- gained 1,500 -- and general merchandise stores -- up 1,200 -- were large contributors to month-over job gains. Wholesale trade payrolls marginally decreased by 100.

Professional and business services added 2,800 jobs to payrolls and administrative, support, waste management and remediation services posted 1,900 month-over employment gains, followed by management of companies and enterprises -- up 500 -- and professional, scientific and technical services -- up 400.

Also adding to payrolls was the government with 1,300 jobs added, financial activities with 1,100, educational and health services with 1,000, manufacturing with 600 and construction up 300 jobs.

The hard-hit leisure and hospitality industry lost 900 jobs, and other services posted a net loss of 100 jobs in the past month.

Mining and logging employment levels remained unchanged.

Comparing year-over-year, leisure and hospitality continue to top the list in jobs lost, with a total of 45,100 jobs lost since last November -- 35,300 of which came in accommodation and food services.

Since the same time last year, government lost 17,500 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities 12,000; educational and health services 10,400; other services 9,500; manufacturing 6,400; information 3,700; and financial activities 2,400.

Professional and business services gained 7,300 new jobs and construction grew payrolls by 2,000 year-over-year.