REGION — Around 350,000 San Diego County workers are at high risk of layoffs and reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the economic impact expected to be much more severe in black and Latino populations as well as among younger, poorer and less-educated workers, according to a San Diego Workforce Partnership report released on March 24.
The report, which can be read at workforce.org/news/potential-impact- of-covid-19-on-employment-in-san-diego-county/, identified San Diego County’s top 40 occupations, which accounts for 790,000 jobs.
Of those, around 350,000 are considered at high-risk for layoffs and reduced hours due to a variety of factors, primarily the inability to work from home, a major factor following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide “stay-at-home’’ order.
Among the hardest hit occupations detailed in the report were retail salespeople, cashiers, food service and restaurant workers, office clerks, janitors, childcare workers and construction laborers.
“How many of those 350,000 jobs are lost in the short term depends on the course of the pandemic and the effectiveness of efforts by government, businesses, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19,’’ the report states.
The report, which details both short- and long-term economic effects of the economic slowing, states that seven of San Diego’s 10 largest occupations could face immediate hours cuts, layoffs and long-term economic displacement. California saw 190,000 unemployment insurance claims filed in the first three days of partial business closures, more than quadruple what the state normally received in a week.
San Diego Workforce Partnership said that per 2018 data, less than one- fifth of Latino and black workers had the option to work from home, while more than a third of white and Asian workers did. The report suggests layoffs will impact black and Latino workers at a higher degree than white and Asian workers.
The same data suggest that younger, less-educated, lower-income and part-time workers are far 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,’’ the report reads.
The report also states that 95 percent of San Diego businesses have fewer than 50 employees, putting those businesses at greater risk of not staying afloat through the pandemic. Small businesses are less likely to be able to support remote work, have multiple revenue sources, or provide employees with paid family leave, paid personal leave or paid sick leave than their larger competitors, the report said.
The San Diego Workforce Partnership said stimulus funding from the federal, state and local levels was necessary to assist businesses through the crisis.
The organization said it will focus on raising funds to help retrain workers displaced by coronavirus-related closures with the skills needed for essential occupations, which are seeing a hiring uptick during the pandemic.
The organization is also hosting daily webinars providing information to employers and workers regarding unemployment insurance assistance, financial support services and other needs for impacted workers and businesses.