San Diego Unemployment at Lowest Rate Since March, Still Historically High

San Diego's unemployment rate continues to be in the double digits, a sign that the economy continues to struggle during the pandemic 

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The latest report from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) shows the region's unemployment at its lowest rate since March, but it's still historically high.

As of Sept. 5, the county's unemployment rate stood at 13.3%, down from 15.4% a month ago and considerably less than the region's early-May peak of 25%. Although the rate is trending down, it's still about 2.5% higher than it was during the Great Recession, and some neighborhoods are seeing rates upwards of 15%

“He lost his job working in a hotel and right now he’s only getting by with the unemployment money, but it's not enough,” City Heights resident Sandra Vidal said about her older brother.

Vidal said her brother was let go from his job back in March and has been unable to find a job since. City Height's neighborhood unemployment rate is 15.8%.

“It’s upsetting and sad because I wish I could do more, but I really can't,” said Vidal.

Vidal has a family of her own and with only her husband working, things are tight for them, too.

Fellow City Heights resident Angel Reyes is still working, but he says his hours have been cut drastically from 40 per week plus overtime to less than 15. While he’s thankful to still have a job, he says he lives in fear thinking that any day could be his last. 

As of Sept. 5, an estimated 226,000 San Diegans are without a job, according to SANDAG's report

And while the report does reflect an improvement since the pandemic started, there were only 50,000 unemployed in March. There has been some improvement compared to the early months, but the high unemployment rate shows just how some communities in our county continue to struggle.

“The areas that are struggling the most are those areas that have people working in the industries that were hit the hardest,” said Ray Major, chief economist for SANDAG. “Those are tourism, retail, and education." 

​In Logan Heights tops the list with an unemployment rate of 17.6%, followed by Golden Hill (16.5%), the College Area (16.4%), City Heights, and Oceanside (15.4%).

“It's not that easy right now for people to get jobs even though sectors are opening back up,” said Major.

And Major doesn't expect much to change from now until the end of the year.

“In the next few months I would expect our unemployment rate to be relatively sticky,” said Major. “Probably in the double-digit range until the end of the year.”

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