Thursday, April 23, 2020

COVID-19 Losses Continue to Mount, with More than 2,100 HumCo Workers Laid Off

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2020 at 2:33 PM

click to enlarge Cars line up for Food for People's food box distribution April 10. - PHIL GUTIERREZ
  • Phil Gutierrez
  • Cars line up for Food for People's food box distribution April 10.
Humboldt County businesses continue to shed jobs in the face of the county’s shelter-in-place order aimed at halting the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease.

Responding to a survey conducted by the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services, 668 businesses have combined to report more than $28.3 million in lost revenue and the permanent loss of 2,130 jobs. Those numbers are up from two weeks ago, when 519 businesses reported 1,700 jobs lost and the loss of more than $21 million. At last report, 15 local businesses had been forced to close permanently as a result of COVID-19, though OES has since stopped publicly reporting the ongoing tally of closures.

According to data from the U.S. Census, 2,130 jobs lost would be a reduction of about 6 percent of Humboldt County's workforce, and that's with just about 21 percent of employers having responded to the survey. And even prior to COVID-19, 20 percent of Humboldt County households were living in poverty.

Statewide, California’s unemployment rate rose by 1.4 percent last month following the reported loss of almost 100,000 jobs, according to the Employment Development Department. But that was before the full weight of shelter-in-place orders was felt, and numbers have since skyrocketed, with one of every six Californians — nearly 3.4 million people — having since filed claims, according to a story in the Marin Independent Journal. According to the story, the state has paid out $3.94 billion in benefits since March 15, and that doesn’t include the latest batch of filings — some 530,000 people — last week, according to a report released today by the federal government. (While still a huge number, 530,000 is a steep reduction from the more than 1 million people who filed the week ending March 28.)

To file a claim, visit the EDD’s website here. The North Coast Small Business Development Center will also be hosting an online event tomorrow from 2 to 3:30 p.m. to offer information on how to get food assistance, financial aid and help finding a job for to those who have recently been laid off. Participants must register by 9 a.m. tomorrow by clicking here. And those needing food assistance can visit Food for People’s website here to learn about food distribution centers and pantries throughout the county.

The county urges business owners to fill out the OES economic impact survey here because it will help it assess countywide COVID-19 damage and losses, and potentially impact the amount of state or federal aid it can qualify for. OES also has a list of services for business owners and employees linked at its website here.
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Thadeus Greenson

Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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