An estimated 350,000 jobs in San Diego County are at risk for layoffs in coming weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic, the San Diego Workforce Partnership reported Tuesday.
The workforce training agency said it has only been notified of 5,700 layoffs so far, but expects that number to grow rapidly as the stay-at-home order closes businesses and keeps people from spending.
“COVID-19 is a health emergency that is creating a finance emergency. And it will have long-term impact,” said City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who chairs the workforce partnership’s policy board.
In a detailed report, the agency called attention to the disproportionate impact on low-income workers in the San Diego region.
“Younger, less-educated, lower-income and part-time workers are less likely to have the option to work from home. In other words, it is the least financially secure
workers who are most at risk in the COVID-19 crisis,” according to the report.
Particularly hard hit will be the region’s smaller businesses. “While large companies typically have large cash reserves that help them maintain payroll in emergencies,
medium- and small-sized businesses in San Diego have an average cash buffer of just 18 days,” the report notes.
One small business owner directly affected is Juan Pablo Sanchez, whose family has operated Super Cocina in City Heights for over 30 years. He said sales have fallen 75%, and he has had to reduce hours across the board and draw on savings to remain open.
“As this ripples out, I can see the loss of income, the loss of production, the loss of wealth will affect everyone,” he said.
The workforce partnership said one bright spot is a surge in temporary hiring in essential occupations related to the front lines of emergency response, such as healthcare supply chains, food distribution, transportation and logistics.
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