Two years on, employment still below pre-pandemic peak – CBS San Francisco

NOVATO (KPIX) – Small businesses facing the challenges of the pandemic say hiring is the latest obstacle they have faced in the nearly two years since COVID-19 changed the economy.

“We always thought we were made in the shade, we were good, and then something else,” said Brandon Henslee, store manager at Five Little Monkeys Toys & Gifts’ Novato location. will explode. “Sometimes it’s like any warm body. We haven’t been in that situation yet so I’m a bit picky. ”

The chain has two locations in the North Bay. This isn’t the only business hiring on Grant Ave in Novato. Local employers here get a sense of their place in the recovery process by comparing notes month to month.

“I saw recruitment signs in some windows. I know we’ve lost some stores on the street this year,” Henslee told KPIX.

California’s unemployment rate dropped half a percentage point in December as the state added 50,700 nonfarm jobs, accounting for more than a quarter of the nation’s 199,000 new jobs for the month, according to new data released today. Friday.

“Our recovery is slower than the US recovery. The Bay Area recovery has been slower than the overall California recovery,” said Jeff Bellisario, executive director of the Gulf Council Economic Institute. “When you look at other big cities like Denver, Austin, Salt Lake City, our West Coast competitors, even Seattle, many of them are already closer to full employment. enough.”

The state has now regained nearly 72% of the 2.7 million jobs lost when Governor Gavin Newsom imposed the first statewide stay-at-home order in spring 2020 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

California’s 6.5% unemployment rate is down from 9.3% a year ago. The state has added nearly a million jobs since December 2020, the state’s Bureau of Employment Development reported. The increase in hiring last month slowed the average increase of 97,200 jobs in the first months of last year, which slowed in November and December. California is also above the national unemployment rate of 3. 9%.

“I think our biggest concern when you talk about jobs in the Bay Area is housing affordability,” says Bellisario.

“We’re going to see people come back, but it’s still a very different dynamic than what we’ve seen in the rebounds,” said Michael Benick, employment attorney Duane Morris and former California EDD director. former California since the 1980s.

The state employs about 920,000 fewer workers than those employed in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit.

As California’s population declines and Bay Area businesses offer remote work locations or seek to locate workers in other parts of the country, Bellisario says making the area a place to be. which many would rather call home than keys. He says the role of a hybrid model is not yet fully understood by employers, but it could keep people out of the office more days a week. The impact of omicrons may not be captured in this month’s report and we may need to look at all of January to understand it, he added.

“I think, in these times, they are looking for some, cite ‘real world skills,’ especially in this moment because so many of them have been stuck behind screens. and iPad,” Henslee said of the students who often work for him. “You know, they want to have some real-world interactions with other people and learn about the responsibilities of having a job. .”

Nearly 356,000 people were certified for unemployment insurance in the sample week of December, down from nearly 435,000 in November and more than 1 million a year ago. More than 49,000 initial requests were processed during the sampling week, down more than 3,600 from November – down more than 110,000 from a year ago. Two years on, employment still below pre-pandemic peak – CBS San Francisco

Dustin Huang

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