Workers at a distribution warehouse in National City. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Personal finance advice website WalletHub has released its latest report: Cities Whose Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most.

We didn’t do so well. With a 6.7% June jobless rate, San Diego didn’t make the top 20. In fact, we were way down the list, showing up at No. 111.

The title of city with the best employment rate went to Lincoln, Nebraska, which had a jobless rate of just 2%.

We experienced a 98% percent jump in our jobless rate in June this year against June 2019, which is quite significant.

The U.S. economy gained 850,000 jobs in June. The national jobless rate is now 5.9% — 60% below the peak of 14.8% posted during the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lack of summer travel hasn’t helped unemployment, said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst for WalletHub. Foreign visitors are conspicuous by their absence.

This is especially true of San Diego, which depends so heavily on tourism to bolster the local economy.

“Unfortunately, we won’t get an influx of money from nearly as many foreign travelers as usual due to the travel bans in place for most of Europe and several other regions,” said Gonzalez.

Los Angeles, which had the highest case rate of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. in June, posted a 110% increase in unemployment from January 2020 to June.

The overall rate in Los Angeles was 10.5% in June — nearly double the national average.

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Looking for a bigger place to rent? Well. it’s cheaper to move to a larger apartment in local communities outside San Diego.

This is according to the latest survey  from apartment search and data website RentCafe.

Larger apartments in Escondido, La Mesa and Vista are cheaper than San Diego. In each of these cities you can upgrade to larger apartment while saving up to $1,300 per year

The survey found that the place with the highest cost to add a bedroom is the city itself, where it costs $550 more a month to move to two bedrooms from one bedroom.

According to the survey, one of the best options in the county is Santee, where renters can get an extra bedroom and save $145 a month compared to San Diego.

That’s more than $1,700 in a year, which is no small piece of change.

San Diego apartments. Photo by Chris Stone

To be sure, San Diego is still cheaper than other parts of Southern California. Renters in Los Angeles, for example, would have to pay $920 a month to get an extra bedroom.

An interesting tidbit from the survey…three out of four tenants working from home don’t enjoy the benefit of having a separate room for work-related purposes.   

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On the other had, the San Diego rental market continues to be robust, especially for those would-be tenants in search of upscale living.

Want proof? In just four months since the start of leasing, downtown San Diego’s new twin-tower residential high-rise, Diega, is more than 50% leased.

The project features more than 600 units in two towers, one 20 and the other 41 stories high.

The developer, Canadian-based Bosa, estimated at the time construction started in 2017 that the cost of the project would total more than $200 million.

The developer’s spokesman wouldn’t say what the final project price totaled.

Leasing rates start at close to $2,200 for a studio unit and more than $4,600 for a two-bedroom penthouse unit. Apartment sizes start at 562 square feet, according to online listings.

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And speaking of Canada…Looks like those snowbirds from the north will be hitting the beaches again.

Commercial carrier Air Canada  resumed daily service between Vancouver, British Columbia, and San Diego on Aug. 1

The resumption comes after Air Canada suspended service in March 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

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La Jolla-based bracelet purveyor Pura Vida says it will open its first brick and mortar store Aug. 12 in the upscale Westfield UTC shopping center.

Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman started selling the hand-made bracelets while on a visit to Costa Rica in 2010. The two say they are selling “millions” of the colorful bead bracelets a year.

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Finally, an item for foodies…On Aug. 1, San Diego chef and restaurateur Brian Malarkey launched Chefs Lifea custom blend of three different cooking oils for the home market.

The oils are available at 1,800 grocery stores nationwide, including Ralphs and Food 4 Less. Retail prices for a bottle will range from $8 to $10 depending on the retailer.

Customers can order online as box set of three for just under $30 at Chefs Life website

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.

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