Coronavirus Unemployment: Bay Area layoff plans double in seven days

Author: George Avalos

Date: 4/20/2020

Publication: Marin IJ


The number of layoffs being planned in the Bay Area have more than doubled over the last seven days, a forbidding new indicator of the economic fallout unleashed by the coronavirus amid government-imposed lockdowns throughout the region.


From March 15, the time when government agencies began to lock down the economy in California to combat the widening coronavirus, employers have warned state officials of plans to chop roughly 44,400 jobs in the Bay Area, this news organization’s review of public records stretching over a one-month period shows.


As of April 8, the state’s Employment Development Department had received layoff notices announcing a combined total of 21,600 job cuts in the Bay Area, the analysis of the state government records shows.


But as of April 15, that number had skyrocketed and more than doubled to 44,400 — an increase of 22,800 in a single week.

State and local government officials have ordered wide-ranging programs, such as shelter in place mandates, that have forced an array of businesses to shut their doors, dismiss workers, and furlough employees.


The timing of the mandatory notices employers must file with the EDD suggests that tens of thousands of these layoffs have already occurred.


For the first time, huge layoffs battered construction companies and movie theaters in the Bay Area, the EDD filings show.


At least eight construction companies have now filed notices of job cuts in the Bay Area, affecting a combined 1,345 in job losses.


Movie theater operators have decided to eliminate slightly more than 1,300 jobs in the Bay Area, this news organization’s analysis of the EDD filings shows. Those numbers were driven largely by employment cutbacks by the Cinemark movie chain at 21 Bay Area locations.


The Cinemark chain alone has laid off more than 930 workers in the Bay Area, according to the notices to the EDD.


The two largest movie theater layoffs in recent weeks were at the relatively new Veranda Luxe Cinema in Concord with a loss of 140 jobs, and Cinemark’s Century 25 Union Landing in Union City, with employment cutbacks totaling 119.


The official notices don’t provide a complete picture of the staffing reductions in the Bay Area, however. The actual number of layoffs could easily be greater than the formal filings with the EDD. Case in point: Temporary work, such as that performed by thousands of construction crews on residential or commercial projects, might not require a notice to the EDD, even if the worker was dismissed from the job.


Numerous construction endeavors, primarily those related to the development of office buildings, retail sites, industrial centers, or residential projects that have no affordable housing component, have been halted by state or local orders.


The largest of the recent construction-related layoffs in recent weeks was undertaken by Redwood City-based general contractor DPR Construction, which dismissed 715 workers in a temporary layoff.


Other major construction layoffs: Sunnyvale-based Level 10 Construction laid off 158 workers and De Anza Tile in Fremont laid off 127. Those also are described as temporary.


In the first comprehensive economic report that detailed the impact of the coronavirus on the Bay Area job market, the state EDD reported on April 17 that the Bay Area lost 27,200 jobs during March, while California shed 99,500 positions.


Hotels, restaurants, beverage places, arts facilities, and entertainment centers lost a total of 17,600 jobs during March in the Bay Area — a shocking 65 percent of the 27,200 positions the nine-county region lost last month, according to a Beacon Economics and UC Riverside assessment of the EDD figures.

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