Economy in crisis: More disappointing numbers to come, but the worst is likely behind us

We’ve seen and heard the unemployment numbers. But what does all of this really mean for our economic recovery in San Diego? Welcome to the ‘economy in crisis’ series – a bi-weekly breakdown of data at the national, state, and local level in the shadows of COVID-19.

10 YEARS OF JOB GROWTH LIKELY UNDONE IN 10 WEEKS

As expected, April’s jobs report was one for the record books. San Diego lost some 195,000 jobs, with especially steep cuts seen in accommodation & food services and retail as stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of COVID-19 essentially halted foot traffic to local restaurants, bars, music venues, and shops. Unemployment hit a historically high rate of 15 percent. March’s numbers were revised lower to reveal 10,400 fewer payroll jobs, bringing the total number of losses to 205,400 compared with the initial March estimates and roughly in line with our call for losses of about 230,000 jobs last month.

The April jobs report only measured employment as of the week of April 12, which means any additional job losses during the second half of April and first half of this month won’t be picked up until the May employment report due on June 19. Weekly unemployment estimates from Applied Geographic Solutions (AGS) indicate that unemployment in San Diego County may have been as high as 30.1 percent for the week ending May 9, with some zip codes in and around downtown potentially experiencing jobless rates of more than 40 percent. This is well above the U.S. estimate of 22.75 percent provided by AGS and implies that the May report could show an additional 10 to 15 percentage point climb in the unemployment rate from April.

Weekly retail sales estimates compiled by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) reveal a 43 percent reduction in receipts by San Diego retailers in April. Further, SANDAG anticipates a cumulative reduction in retail sales of more than 50 percent in May compared with pre-COVID sales levels—not an unreasonable assumption given the wide-ranging impact of stay-at home orders on retailers since March. If realized, the SANDAG retail sales forecast for May could mean another 70,000 to 75,000 job losses at retailers in the May employment report, even accounting for steady or growing receipts at supermarkets, bargain clubs, and drug stores. Taken together, if AGS’ unemployment estimates are accurate and SANDAG’s retail sales projections come to fruition, the May jobs report may reveal another round of record-breaking job losses similar to those reported for April.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

But there’s some good news: the worst has likely passed. With the City and County moving to gradually reopen the economy, businesses that have been able to hold on this long will likely be able to make it to the other side without having to initiate additional mass layoffs, at least not on the scale seen so far. The pace of initial jobless claims in California remains elevated but has slowed considerably. Now the focus will be on assessing continuing jobless claims, since those will indicate how many people have been able to get back to work.

The next great hurdle will be replacing lost jobs, especially for workers whose former employers were forced to shut down in the wake of the outbreak. This will require a balance between new businesses forming and targeted worker training programs to help connect people who are out of work with companies in higher-paying, more stable fields who are struggling to source employees. It could take several years before San Diego businesses lost during the COVID crisis are replaced, and worker retraining could get the workforce back on track much more quickly.

Of course, this would require public funding, which is scarce after several waves of fiscal stimulus. However, it would likely cost less to train employees and get them back into the workforce quickly than the amount of foregone income tax revenues, additional unemployment expenditures and longer-term government welfare programs that would be required as they wait for positions in their pre-COVID fields to open back up. Additionally, it is in the region’s best interest to get people back to work as quickly as possible, because job skills erode quickly as workers remain out of the workforce, which dramatically lowers their odds of ever re-entering the job market.

COVID-19 RECOVERY RESOURCES

As a partner of the local San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, EDC is working directly with small businesses – free of charge – to counsel them on accessing COVID-19 recovery resources.

Request EDC assistance

For general COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please view this page.

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4 resources for San Diego small businesses  – May 21, 2020

With so many relief and recovery programs launching every day, it can be difficult to figure out which ones your business should prioritize. In addition to financial resources for San Diego businesses and residents that we’ve compiled here, here are four recovery resources you should know about. 

1. Connect with your customers online via GoSite

Local digital software suite provider GoSite is helping small businesses connect with their customers online with a free website and payment method. Click here to learn more.

2. Reopening guides for San Diego’s restaurants, retailers, & small businesses

San Diego Regional EDC convened a broad coalition to develop step-by-step guides to help local businesses reopen. These guides have been tested in focus groups, and align with local, state and national guidance. EDC recognizes that in order to get to a point where reopening guides such as these are useful, other issues, like childcare, must be addressed first. Download your guide here.

3. SDGE late payment fee waivers

SDG&E will waive late payment fees for business customers whose finances have been hit hard. The company also urges customers who are struggling to pay their utility bill due to financial hardships stemming from the coronavirus to call its Customer Contact Center at 1-800-411-7343 to make payment arrangements. Click here to learn more.

4. Rady School business recovery coalition

The Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego will help businesses in the San Diego region navigate the unprecedented challenges faced by COVID-19. Drawing on expertise from the UC San Diego community, Rady will provide immediate pro bono assistance to businesses, including PPP loan forgiveness application templates, risk evaluation, and other guidance. Apply here.

For more COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please visit this page.

Regardless of how this all plays out, EDC is here to help. You can use the button below to request our assistance with finding information, applying to relief programs, and more.

Request EDC assistance

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Reopening San Diego’s small businesses [free guides]

San Diego Regional EDC, in partnerships with San Diego and Imperial SBDC, have commissioned a broad team to develop detailed guides to help small businesses reopen – in advance of San Diego’s announced phase 2 reopenings. The guides align with current local (San Diego County), state, and national guidance, were developed in collaboration with various regional task forces, and have been tested in focus groups by local businesses.

Small businesses are the backbone of our region’s economy, and employ the majority of San Diegans. In order to meet our regional goal of creating 50,000 quality jobs in small businesses by 2030, we all need to invest in ensuring small businesses have the tools they need to recover, adapt, and thrive over the coming months. Funding, technical assistance, and childcare for working parents are also important to the long term recovery and resiliency of San Diego’s small businesses.

For more tools to help distribute the guides, contact Heather Dewis at hd@sandiegobusiness.org. Let’s get San Diego back to work. 

Download the free Small Business guides



Additional Small Business resources

For more business resources, including information about relief programs, visit our COVID-19 resource page.

If you’re a small business that is looking for direct counseling, please request EDC’s support here.

Other articles you might be interested in:

Mark Cafferty: Recovery through an inclusive lens

This column originally ran in the San Diego Business Journal on May 17, 2020:

I hope this message continues to find you and your families healthy and safe. Our team at EDC continues to work from home and we are focusing all of our time and energy on helping local small businesses get connected to the resources and services they need during these confusing and challenging times.

Over the last several weeks, I had the opportunity to serve on the RECOVER economic recovery advisory group formed by County Supervisor Greg Cox and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. The group was brought together to form a regional plan for reopening businesses and setting up appropriate communication channels with the business community. The group was comprised of several chambers of commerce, business and trade associations, economic development organizations, and education and labor groups. The hope going forward is that our collective reach will continue to provide our local government officials with quick and accurate feedback from a broad section of our business community as we navigate the various stages of economic recovery.  The guidelines that the group developed are posted here and can also be found on the City and County’s websites.

In a closing memo that I wrote to Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Cox, I urged the City and the County—and all advisory group members—to continue to host and maintain similar discussions for regional businesses focused on childcare and the reopening of schools.

Clearly, a large segment of our workforce will not be able to return to employment with any level of normalcy while their children are still home with no prospect of school, summer school/camps, and childcare. Our partners at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Workforce Partnership have already been focused heavily on childcare over the last few years. They are continuing the difficult job of working with childcare providers and businesses to ensure that we are not having these conversations or planning in vacuums.

Our team at EDC and more than 30 community partners have spent the last two years trying to create inclusive economic development strategies to ensure that more of our community members can thrive within our local economy. One of our three pillars has been addressing the growing educational achievement gap. We have been working to ensure that businesses are more engaged with this issue. Now more than ever, we feel that getting business and education leaders together to think through how we effectively reopen our schools and support each other through the difficult months ahead is one of the most critical issues we face. Our team at EDC will do everything we possibly can to continue to facilitate these discussions, push for solutions and set up communication systems to help maintain ongoing progress and success to ensure that we phase back into work-based and school-based activities in a coordinated fashion.

And finally, the impacts of this horrific healthcare and economic crisis have not hit our community (or our nation) evenly. African American, Asian, and Latino communities have been disproportionately impacted by the virus, and they have also been disproportionately impacted by the layoffs, business closures, school closures, and economic challenges our advisory group focused on. The locally-owned hospitality, retail, and restaurants have clearly been hit the hardest. Small and minority-owned businesses are in the most need of financial support and will continue to need our attention, our resources, and our services as we work our way through recovery. I urged the Mayor, City Council, and County Board of Supervisors—regardless of political party affiliation and the various segments of our community that they represent—to be visibly united in ensuring that our economic recovery remains focused on the individuals, businesses, communities, and sectors of our economy that have been hardest hit.

I closed my memo by indicating that San Diego Regional EDC remains fully committed to ensuring that all of our resources, energy, and programs are focused on the unique challenges and opportunities of the economic recovery that lie ahead of us. I want to restate that commitment to all of you as well. We have to get this right.

A Record-Setting Jobs Report

Incoming data confirmed what most of us already knew: The U.S. economy lost a record number of jobs in April. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the economy shed 20.5 million payroll jobs, lifting the unemployment rate to 14.7%, a rate unseen since the Great Depression. Job losses were spread across every industry, but cuts were especially severe in leisure & hospitality, which gave up some 7.7 million positions.

The BLS data are roughly consistent with payroll processor ADP’s employment report that shows 20.2 million job losses at private companies last month. Similar to the BLS, ADP reported that cuts were heavily concentrated in leisure & hospitality. ADP also measured employment changes across different firm sizes, and showed that companies employing fewer than 50 workers let go of 6 million workers in April.

What The U.S. Numbers Could Mean Locally

The crater in small business employment across the U.S. last month could portend an especially bad jobs report locally. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers employ 45% of San Diegans, compared with just 29% nationally. Job losses on the scale of the national figure would imply roughly 120,000 fewer payrolls at San Diego small businesses in April alone, roughly the same number of jobs lost across businesses of all sizes between December 2007 and January 2010 during the last recession.

Cutting the data across industries is equally disarming. Accommodation & food service companies employ about one in every 10 local workers. Both the BLS and ADP reports show that hospitality businesses essentially halved their staffs last month; a similar contraction in San Diego would translate to about 85,000 to 90,000 lost jobs. However, San Diego hospitality employment has historically been more sensitive to downturns than nationally, meaning as many as 120,000, or nearly two in three, hospitality workers may have potentially been put out of work.

Retail employment is also touchier to fluctuations in the local economy than it is nationally. San Diego retailers may have eliminated more than 25,000 payrolls based on the 2.1 million jobs cut across the U.S. last month.

The damage doesn’t end with hospitality and retail, although losses in other industries are not nearly on the same scale. The BLS reported 980,000 public sector job cuts, and local government, which employs public school teachers, accounted for 801,000 of those. Another industry with a large local footprint—professional and technical services—gave up 520,700 positions nationally. Together, an additional loss of around 15,000 local payrolls from these two sectors could be reasonably estimated based on historical relationships between local and national employment changes.

All in, San Diego is looking at a potential loss of about 230,000 jobs in April if history serves. This would be nearly double the losses suffered during the 2008-2009 crisis and could potentially bring the unemployment rate up to a range as high as 18% to 20%. The official April jobs numbers for San Diego will be reported on Friday, May 22.

Several points bear mentioning: First, the above discussion is only meant to provide a sense of scale around local job market impacts if similar dynamics seen in the national employment report were to play out here. Second, no sector or cluster is immune to downturns. So, while government and professional services haven’t yet experienced losses on the scale of accommodation & food services, there’s always a chance that the effects of COVID-19 could ripple out into these industries. Finally, while it may be encouraging that higher-paying professional and government positions haven’t given as much ground as lower-paying ones, the disproportionate pain experienced by the most vulnerable workers should give us pause.

The coming recovery presents an opportunity to establish career development programs designed to connect lower-paid workers with jobs in industries that are struggling to attract talent. EDC’s Advancing San Diego program – which is currently recruiting local educational providers that develop skilled engineering talent – is helping San Diego inch closer to its goal of producing 20k additional skilled workers per year.  Programs like this are a win-win situation that promises a brighter future for thousands of San Diegans and a more resilient economy that could better weather future downturns.

COVID-19 RECOVERY RESOURCES

As a partner of the local San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, EDC is working directly with small businesses  – free of charge – to counsel them on accessing COVID-19 recovery resources.

Request EDC assistance

For general COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please view this page.

You also might like:

Economy in crisis: April jobs reports likely to reveal record SD job losses

We’ve seen and heard the unemployment numbers. But what does all of this really mean for our economic recovery in San Diego? Welcome to the ‘economy in crisis’ series – a bi-weekly breakdown of data at the national, state, and local level in the shadows of Covid-19.

A Record-setting jobs report

Incoming data confirmed what most of us already knew: The U.S. economy lost a record number of jobs in April. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the economy shed 20.5 million payroll jobs, lifting the unemployment rate to 14.7%, a rate unseen since the Great Depression. Job losses were spread across every industry, but cuts were especially severe in leisure & hospitality, which gave up some 7.7 million positions.

The BLS data are roughly consistent with payroll processor ADP’s employment report that shows 20.2 million job losses at private companies last month. Similar to the BLS, ADP reported that cuts were heavily concentrated in leisure & hospitality. ADP also measured employment changes across different firm sizes, and showed that companies employing fewer than 50 workers let go of 6 million workers in April.

SDREDC bart chart shows small firms experienced largest job losses in April 2020

What the U.S. numbers could mean locally

The crater in small business employment across the U.S. last month could portend an especially bad jobs report locally. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers employ 45% of San Diegans, compared with just 29% nationally. Job losses on the scale of the national figure would imply roughly 120,000 fewer payrolls at San Diego small businesses in April alone, roughly the same number of jobs lost across businesses of all sizes between December 2007 and January 2010 during the last recession.

Cutting the data across industries is equally disarming. Accommodation & food service companies employ about one in every 10 local workers. Both the BLS and ADP reports show that hospitality businesses essentially halved their staffs last month; a similar contraction in San Diego would translate to about 85,000 to 90,000 lost jobs. However, San Diego hospitality employment has historically been more sensitive to downturns than nationally, meaning as many as 120,000, or nearly two in three, hospitality workers may have potentially been put out of work.

Retail employment is also touchier to fluctuations in the local economy than it is nationally. San Diego retailers may have eliminated more than 25,000 payrolls based on the 2.1 million jobs cut across the U.S. last month.

The damage doesn’t end with hospitality and retail, although losses in other industries are not nearly on the same scale. The BLS reported 980,000 public sector job cuts, and local government, which employs public school teachers, accounted for 801,000 of those. Another industry with a large local footprint—professional and technical services—gave up 520,700 positions nationally. Together, an additional loss of around 15,000 local payrolls from these two sectors could be reasonably estimated based on historical relationships between local and national employment changes.

All in, San Diego is looking at a potential loss of about 230,000 jobs in April if history serves. This would be nearly double the losses suffered during the 2008-2009 crisis and could potentially bring the unemployment rate up to a range as high as 18% to 20%. The official April jobs numbers for San Diego will be reported on Friday, May 22.

Several points bear mentioning: First, the above discussion is only meant to provide a sense of scale around local job market impacts if similar dynamics seen in the national employment report were to play out here. Second, no sector or cluster is immune to downturns. So, while government and professional services haven’t yet experienced losses on the scale of accommodation & food services, there’s always a chance that the effects of COVID-19 could ripple out into these industries. Finally, while it may be encouraging that higher-paying professional and government positions haven’t given as much ground as lower-paying ones, the disproportionate pain experienced by the most vulnerable workers should give us pause.

The coming recovery presents an opportunity to establish career development programs designed to connect lower-paid workers with jobs in industries that are struggling to attract talent. EDC’s Advancing San Diego program – which is currently recruiting local educational providers that develop skilled engineering talent – is helping San Diego inch closer to its goal of producing 20k additional skilled workers per year.  Programs like this are a win-win situation that promises a brighter future for thousands of San Diegans and a more resilient economy that could better weather future downturns.

COVID-19 RECOVERY RESOURCES

As a partner of the local San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, EDC is working directly with small businesses  – free of charge – to counsel them on accessing COVID-19 recovery resources.

Request EDC assistance

For general COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please view this page.

You also might like:

3 resources for San Diego businesses  – May 7, 2020

Our team has compiled COVID-19 resources to provide guidance and support for San Diego businesses and residents. Here are three financing programs you should know about. 

1. Main St. Matters Grant

Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest is offering grants to businesses that have not received any other emergency funding. Businesses must be in good standing with BBB, upholding their standards for trust, and be located in the Pacific Southwest Region. Watch this short video for more information.

2. Women’s Empowerment Loan Fund (WELF)

San Diego Grantmakers and the International Rescue Committee have created a loan that provides low cost financing to women-owned businesses in San Diego. In addition to the loans, which will range from $5,000 – $25,000, the program includes resources such as expert coaching and assistance from the International Rescue Committee.

3. Salesforce Care Small Business Grants

Salesforce and Ureeka are offering $10,000 grants to 300 small businesses. Businesses must be for-profit companies, have between 2 and 50 employees, have been in business for 2 full years, have an annual revenue of between $250K and $2 million, and have experience challenges as a result of COVID-19.

For more COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please visit this page.

Regardless of how this all plays out, EDC is here to help. You can use the button below to request our assistance with finding information, applying to relief programs, and more.

Request EDC assistance

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3 resources for San Diego businesses – April 30, 2020

Our team has compiled COVID-19 resources to provide guidance and support for San Diego businesses and residents. Here are three programs providing small businesses relief in the form of loans and grants. 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Part of the recently passed stimulus package, the $349 billion U.S. Small Business Administration program will provide partially forgivable, low-interest loans to businesses with 500 employees or fewer. Loans can be used to offset operating costs including payroll, retirement benefits, mortgage/rent, and utilities. If used for allowable costs only, and if the company maintains the same number of employees, 8 weeks of operating costs can be forgiven. Companies are encouraged to apply through their existing SBA Lender. Please reference this guide and checklist for more information.

Loan Program for Unincorporated Areas

The County of San Diego is developing a loan program for small businesses in unincorporated areas that have suffered financially as a result of COVID-19. The program will give $5 million in loans and will be overseen by the San Diego Foundation. Applications for the loan are not yet open, please check back for updates.

LISC and US Bank Foundation Business Improvement Grants

San Diego is one of five cities nationwide to benefit from a $500,000 donation from U.S. Bank to our local LISC. The money is to be distributed to small businesses in underserved communities facing financial pressure due to COVID-19 in the form of $5,000 grants.

For more COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please visit this page.

Regardless of how this all plays out, EDC is here to help. You can use the button below to request our assistance with finding information, applying to relief programs, and more.

Request EDC assistance

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Economy in crisis: SD job market rout continues, but opportunities emerge

We’ve seen and heard the unemployment numbers. But what does all of this really mean for our economic recovery in San Diego? Welcome to the ‘economy in crisis’ series – a bi-weekly breakdown of data at the national, state, and local level in the shadows of Covid-19. 

San Diego’s economy remains on hold as efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus continue. Roughly 3.5 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits since March, comprising 13% of the US total. The number of active unemployment insurance claims in California is already triple the peak experienced during the 2008-2009 Great Recession, and it’s likely that the unemployment rate in San Diego will easily surpass the 11.1% peak reached during that time.

The job market rout is yet to be captured in the official employment data. According to the most recent jobs report, San Diego shed just over 10,000 jobs in March. However, last month’s employment numbers understate the full extent of job losses.

The impact on vulnerable local industries has been studied and documented. However, industry disruptions beyond arts & recreation, retail, wholesale, and accommodation & food services are becoming apparent. Oil and energy-related companies and non-emergency healthcare providers have shared in the pain.

Businesses with strong ties to oil have only a small footprint in the region, so the steep slide in crude prices in recent weeks is not likely to reverberate too loudly throughout the local economy. However, the healthcare industry runs fairly deep, accounting for roughly one in 10 local jobs. Hospitals and doctors’ offices—which are in high demand as the number of Coronavirus diagnoses has increased—employ between 60,000 and 65,000 people, but that still leaves well over 100,000 at-risk positions. Moreover, an estimated 460 additional jobs are lost in other sectors for every 1,000 jobs lost in non-emergency healthcare. Making matters worse is that employment estimates are notoriously unreliable during times of stress, and it could take months of data revisions before an accurate picture of the job market emerges.

building a stronger, more inclusive San Diego

Despite the immense pain and stress this downturn has caused, the coming recovery presents a prime opportunity to rebuild San Diego’s economy in a more inclusive, equitable way. A path can be built to link workers to training programs to prepare them for careers in industries that are struggling to fill open positions that pay considerably better and typically provide benefits. For example, health diagnostics and treatment occupations accounted for six times the share of job postings than total hires between 2016 and 2020, implying a severe shortage of qualified applicants. This is not isolated to just STEM-based positions, either; a similar trend has emerged for advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers.

According to Emsi, there was a 21% reduction in job postings over the past 30 days, including for the high-demand occupations listed above. Company hiring – or job postings – is expected to fall further before the crisis ends.  By looking at the imbalance of labor demand in the market, we can help shepherd workers toward occupations struggling to find talent. When viewed through a demand lens, we can take a targeted approach to develop training programs that may leave thousands of San Diegans better off than they were before the COVID-19 outbreak.

An Opportunity for Small Business Success

This recovery will also provide a chance to focus on small business formation and success among women and people of color who, historically, have been marginalized and received less access to startup capital. Nearly 96% of San Diego companies employ fewer than 50 workers and 61% employ fewer than 10 people, making this an especially important initiative to undertake.Pie chart of SD small businesses by number of employees

The “when” of the recovery remains a huge question mark, but the “how” of the recovery is coming into focus. EDC’s mission is to maximize prosperity within the region, and the opportunity to build a stronger, more resilient San Diego has arguably never been better than it is right now.

COVID-19 Recovery Resources

Regardless of how this all plays out, EDC is here to help. You can use the button below to request our assistance

Request EDC assistance

For general COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please view this page.

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Mark Cafferty, Jerry Sanders: Recovery and Resiliency (Not Reopening)

Originally published on April 19 in the San Diego Business Journal, this excerpt is from the latest of EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty’s weekly columns:

As we all settle in to the unfamiliar business and personal routines that have filled our days over the last several weeks, there is a lot of talk about “reopening” the economy. At the Chamber & EDC, our time is still being spent in daylong conversations with businesses—large and small—who are still in survival mode, trying to get money in the bank from various federal programs to help them keep their doors open, keep their team members employed, and bridge a gap from now until whenever some level of normalcy returns to their lives. If economic recovery was as simple as reopening something, we all would have (re)opened it by now.

The level of thoughtfulness, informed critical thinking, and step-by-step collaboration with public health officials that will need to go into the decision-making processes in front of us will be like nothing we have ever been a part of. Reopening businesses and generating near-term and long-term economic redevelopment strategies will be difficult and complex, and the level of urgency surrounding all of this could not be higher.

However, the unprecedented collaboration that is currently going into communicating with our political and healthcare leaders, sharing data and information across business groups and associations, and providing direct services to thousands of impacted businesses will position us well to generate the plans, steps, processes and communications strategies that will guide our businesses and economy into long-term recovery. This work and these relationships must ensure that as we work our way through this recovery, we create an economy that is more resilient and that works for more of our residents.

In the weeks ahead, we will share information on new task forces and working groups that will help in this ongoing and fluid process. Much of that work will be based on the information we have gathered from our ongoing business surveys with our partners, which we have shared with you below.

COVID-19 Impact Survey

Revenue impacts continue, but most firms favor temporary shutdowns over permanent closures.

In order to assess immediate economic impacts and understand the evolving business sentiment surrounding COVID-19, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Regional EDC, in partnership with San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, Downtown San Diego Partnership and National City Chamber of Commerce, developed a survey.

Three trends stood out based on what employers told us during the first four weeks of surveying. These findings are based on responses from 692 companies across the San Diego region.

Temporary Shutdowns Increasing

Only about 1% of survey respondents have permanently closed their business, but 42% have temporarily shut down operations. This is encouraging, since the number of local business closures could have a direct bearing on the pace of recovery once the COVID crisis subsides. Businesses that have permanently closed their doors are in a range of industries, including biotech and pharmaceuticals, cleantech, food and beverage, manufacturing, professional services, and retail.

Expect Revenue Impacts to Continue

The industries in San Diego most vulnerable to the effects of policies aimed at containing the spread of the virus include arts and entertainment, food and beverage, retail, and tourism. Compared to when the survey began in mid-March, more firms in these industries increasingly expect revenue impacts to occur over the next 1-3 months, rather than immediately. The perception by business owners that the economic and financial pain of the crisis could last longer than initially expected will likely be reflected as an effective moratorium on business investment and hiring in the near term.

Financial Assistance and Access to Capital

Compared to earlier survey results, more businesses are expressing interest in financing and capital to cope with the massive revenue shortfalls associated with COVID-19.

For an interactive visualization of survey responses, please visit: https://www.sandiegobusiness.org/research/covid-19-survey-results/

COVID-19 Survey Results: Revenue impacts continue, but most firms favor temporary shutdowns over permanent closures

In order to assess immediate economic impacts and understand the evolving business sentiment surrounding COVID-19, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Regional EDC, in partnership with San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, Downtown San Diego Partnership and National City Chamber of Commerce, developed a survey.

Three trends stood out based on what employers told us during the first four weeks of surveying. These findings are based on responses from 692 companies across the San Diego region:

  1. Few firms surveyed have closed permanently, but temporary shutdowns are increasing. Only about 1% of survey respondents have permanently closed their business, but 42% have temporarily shut down operations. This is encouraging, since the number of local business closures could have a direct bearing on the pace of recovery once the COVID crisis subsides. Businesses that have permanently closed their doors are in a range of industries, including biotech and pharmaceuticals, cleantech, food and beverage, manufacturing, professional services, and retail.
  2. Vulnerable industries expect revenue impacts to continue. The industries in San Diego most vulnerable to the effects of policies aimed at containing the spread of the virus include arts and entertainment, food and beverage, retail, and tourism. Compared to when the survey began in mid-March, more firms in these industries increasingly expect revenue impacts to occur over the next 1-3 months, rather than immediately. The perception by business owners that the economic and financial pain of the crisis could last longer than initially expected will likely be reflected as an effective moratorium on business investment and hiring in the near term.
  3. More businesses seek financial assistance and access to capital. Compared to earlier survey results, more businesses are expressing interest in financing and capital to cope with the massive revenue shortfalls associated with COVID-19.

Understanding COVID-19’s impact: an interactive visualization

Below is an interactive visualization of self-reported impacts to local employers, both in terms of employment and revenue. You can segment the data by industry, number of employees, and typical annual revenue. Additionally, please scroll over the tab to look at the breakdown of responses via zip code. Please note, this is not a representative sample – meaning we did not weight responses proportionately to the population and demographics of the region – so we strongly advise against drawing sub-regional conclusions from this data.

Respondent Profile

For up-to-date information on the survey respondents and high level results, please view the responding profile here.

  • Number of responses: 692

Resources for you

San Diego Regional EDC, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and San Diego and Imperial SBDC offer a variety of resources to help businesses.

If you would like assistance from EDC, please use this form. Once we receive your responses, we will make every effort to reach out to you within 24 hours.

Request EDC assistance

You can view last week’s COVID-19 survey results, as well as a full screen dashboard, here.
If you are looking for general information about COVID-19, please view this page.
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