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New SANDAG Report Examines Pandemic Impacts on Regional Employment

Nearly 300,000 residents unemployed; unemployment rates hover between 16-27% throughout the region

San Diego CA— The SANDAG Data Science and Analytics team examined and analyzed local and state data that indicates nearly 300,000 regional residents have lost their jobs due to the economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SANDAG report, COVID-19 Impact on the San Diego Regional Economy: Employment Analysis, outlines the geographical distribution of lost jobs and calculates unemployment rates for segments of the region.

The communities of South Bay and Central San Diego have been the hardest hit by the mass loss of jobs.

“SANDAG is in a unique position to analyze data it collects to develop reports and economic forecasts that can help inform regional leaders. These reports can be used as tools to help in our recovery planning efforts,” said SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata. “I’m very proud of Chief Economist Ray Major and his team for putting in long hours to get this done.”

The new SANDAG report examines unemployment in the region by place of residence and place of work.

“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.”

Some employment centers have been hit harder than others, depending on the concentration of businesses in the tourism, retail, food and beverage services, and personal services industries.

Hotel and motel occupancy is anticipated to remain low through 2020 as the tourism sector struggles to recover. Local entertainment venues, amusement parks, attractions, concert arenas, casinos, and baseball parks also will be impacted due to reduced travel and social distancing regulations.

In the San Diego region, communities that have struggled most during the pandemic include the South Bay and Central San Diego where unemployment rates are 22-27%.

Estimated Unemployment Rates by ZIP Code as of April 11

Data providers for this report include the San Diego Workforce Partnership and Applied Geographic Solutions, Inc. on April 20, 2020. It includes estimates through April 11.

To see the full SANDAG report, COVID-19 Impact on the San Diego Regional Economy: Employment Analysis, visit sandag.org/economy.

Data Science and Analytics at SANDAG

As the regional leader in economic analysis, the SANDAG Data Science and Analytics team uses complex, descriptive, and predictive data to inform and support policy decisions that promote economic, social, and environmental prosperity in the San Diego region. The team works to provide critical information for policy makers and elected officials to make intelligent investments for the San Diego region.


The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.

To protect the health and safety of staff, partners, and the general public, SANDAG offices are closed to the public. Our team is working remotely during this time to provide essential services, and to continue progress on critical regional projects. SANDAG will continue to monitor the development of COVID-19 in the region and follow guidance from the  San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.


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