Urgency to Reopen as Job Losses Hit Historic Levels

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The COVID-19 shutdown cost Bay Area economy over half a million jobs in April – more than an eighth of all jobs in the region and representing the single largest job-loss event the region has ever witnessed. Today’s (May 22) release by the California Employment Development Department shows the nine-county region lost 555,000 jobs in April, with San Francisco and the Peninsula (-170,000), the East Bay (-172,000), and the South Bay (-128,000) posting the biggest losses. North Bay counties also showed substantial losses, collectively losing 86,000 jobs.

The official regional unemployment rate stands at 13.1%, but that number understates the level of job loss as those that are not looking for work are not counted in the overall labor force. Bay Area Council Economic Institute research shows an unemployment figure of 17.5% when factoring in labor force participation pre-pandemic.

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