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SANDAG: Nearly 300,000 San Diego County residents lost jobs due to COVID-19

The average unemployment rate in the county was roughly 20.6% as of April 11.

SAN DIEGO — Communities in the South Bay and central San Diego have been hit the hardest by unemployment and nearly 300,000 San Diego County residents have lost jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released Thursday.

The San Diego Association of Governments' report on the impact of the global coronavirus outbreak on the region's economy outlined the geographical distribution of lost jobs and calculated unemployment rates for separate communities around the county through April 11.

Between 22-27% of residents in the South Bay and Central San Diego were unemployed by that time, according to the report.

As of April 11, the Logan Heights neighborhood had the highest unemployment rate, 26.6%, followed by San Ysidro, City Heights, the College Area, Encanto, Santa Ysabel and National City.

The communities that fared the best, comparatively, included western Rancho Bernardo, Sorrento Valley, Carmel Valley, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe and northeastern Chula Vista, with unemployment rates around 17%.

The average unemployment rate in the county was roughly 20.6% as of April 11.

The analysis also found that the transportation, food and beverage, and personal care and services industries suffered high job losses, while the health care sector suffered moderate job losses and the education sector suffered relatively few job losses.

Hotel and motel occupancy is expected to remain low throughout 2020 as the tourism sector struggles to recover, according to the report.

Local entertainment venues, amusement parks, attractions, concert arenas, casinos and baseball parks will also continue to be impacted because of reduced travel and social distancing regulations.

"The reality is that hundreds of thousands of San Diegans have lost their primary source of income," said SANDAG Chief Economist Ray Major. "We hope this report gives regional leaders a broad understanding of the impacts and will help in developing protocols to allow people to safely return to work and restart the region's economy."

The report also tracked the progression of unemployment claims in March and April.

The highest increase came in the week that ended on March 28, when the average unemployment rate in the county jumped from 4.8% to 11.1%.

The following week -- which ended April 4 -- saw unemployment climb from 11.1% to 16.6% before increasing to 20.6% in the week that ended April 11.

The SANDAG report's release came as the federal government released figures Thursday showing that more than 4.4 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. Around 26 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the five weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began. 

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