SAN DIEGO — New estimates put unemployment in San Diego County at levels higher than even during the Great Depression, and nowhere has been hit harder than Barrio Logan and Logan Heights.
A new study from the San Diego Association of Governments puts the region's jobless rate at 26.8 percent, which beats the 24.9 percent national rate during the Great Depression. The agency estimates 450,000 unemployed San Diegans.
The jobless rate is highest in Barrio Logan and Logan Heights, where it has reached a staggering 37.5 percent.
"This lockdown, you don't see too many people on the street anyway, so you don't know - is it empty because nobody's going to work? or is it empty because everybody needs to stay inside? or is it empty because there's just no activity going on?" said Nicholas Aguilera, president of Diego and Son print shop in Barrio Logan.
Ray Major, chief economist at SANDAG, said Barrio Logan and Logan Heights are home to more workers who had jobs in the high-touch service sector fields, which have been eliminated amid the Coronavirus pandemic. He added that the two neighborhoods had elevated unemployment to begin with.
"Typically we've seen higher unemployment rates in the center of the city," he said. "Some ethnic groups have higher unemployment rates also, so some of the minority communities. These are the poorer communities in the region and also the ones that are hit the hardest with this pandemic."
Major said workers who had service sector jobs will likely have to retain to find new jobs faster. The San Diego Workforce Partnership is actively aiming to expand its retraining programs.
Kelly Cole, a vice president at Hayes Bolt and Supply of Logan Heights, which is currently hiring, said he's seen a lack of traffic in the area, which hurts local businesses.
"I walk down the street to have lunch at the restaurants here around the building, and you see a lot of military traffic, and there is very little of that traffic right now," he said.
Major said the full recovery likely won't happen until at least 2021.