Thousands lose tourism jobs as peak season ends

Regardless, the outlook is improving
Posted at 5:38 PM, Nov 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-18 20:44:38-05

Peak travel season is over in San Diego, and thousands just lost their jobs - but the news isn't all bad for locals who want to get back into the field.

There was a peculiar site in Pacific Beach on Friday - no line at Kono's cafe, steps from Crystal Pier. Manager Joe Bettles says it's just that time of year. He says business drops 30 to 40 percent in the fall. 

But it's not just Kono's that's slow right now. The entire San Diego hospitality industry is - from hotels to restaurants to tour guides.

"It was slow, maybe three to four tours for the month," said Tony Lowery, of Bike Ride San Diego.

And less business means fewer jobs. The Employment Development Department reported Friday that 5,300 San Diegans working at our hotels, restaurants and attractions lost their jobs in October.

"We take the time during the winter to do projects that got ignored during the summer," Bettles said. 

Bettles said Konos and its newest location called Konito's isn't laying off anyone. And a deeper look at Friday's jobs report shows those who were let go may not be out of work for long.

That's because despite the layoffs last month, the leisure and hospitality field still grew by 5,300 compared to the same time last year. That means the industry is adding jobs that the calendar doesn't klll.

"When you have a slow day or a slow week because there's less population you have to think long term and plan for it," said Bettles.

The county's unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in October, down from 5.1 percent a year earlier. In that time, county employers added 29,500 payroll jobs.