Thousands of jobs lost during Butte County’s coronavirus shut-down – Chico Enterprise-Record

CHICO — While Butte County’s jobless numbers were better in August than July, the true impact of the coronavirus shut-down was apparent in one number.

From August 2019 to August 2020,  the number of jobs lost in Butte County both in farm and nonfarm industries reached about 7,300.

Employment statistics from February and March 2020 showed just slight job losses, roughly a couple of hundred each month.

But the losses began mounting into the thousands — roughly 8,600 lost jobs in April, just about the time that businesses and agencies were shuttered and layoffs started.

It’s not anything that surprised number crunchers, but just the size of job contractions is an indication of how businesses have suffered under the shutdown.

August’s numbers are good news in a sense, showing some movement in key Butte County industries. It’s not a bounce-back as much as an inching forward.

Some industries like construction lost 500 jobs over the August-to-August snapshot, but on the positive side, from this year’s July to August, there were no measurable losses in the sector which includes mining and logging. Of 4,300 jobs in the sector, most are in the construction.

In the year-over comparison, the area with the biggest job loss was leisure and hospitality, which would include restaurants, bars and hotels. While it held steady from this year’s July to August, the August-to-August comparison was down 1,900 jobs. A year ago, roughly 9,000 individuals held hospitality jobs, with about 7,100 working in that area last month.

Some industry sectors, like professional and business services, and manufacturing, even saw a little growth, with those areas picking up roughly 100 jobs.

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Unemployment rate

In looking at the August unemployment numbers, Butte County was at 9 percent unemployment, down from 11.2 percent in July. However, more than 8,400 residents were without work.

And compared to a year ago, Butte’s unemployment rate in August 2019 was 5 percent with 4,900 residents not working.

Monthly numbers also showed that the labor force had shrunk over the last 12 months, down by roughly 4,400 individuals who were of the age to work. That loss could come from workers leaving the area, retirements or people giving up the job hunt.

State Employment Development Department labor analyst Sheila Stock said Butte County saw a benefit from some schools going back into session a little earlier, along with federal hiring because of the census survey, as well as federal funding of Camp Fire recovery jobs.

Federal jobs were up to about 1,000 in August, from 600 a year ago.

Stock also noted that Butte County is the fifth highest in California for job recovery, which is recovering jobs lost during the coronavirus shut-down. State figures show that 39.8 percent of the jobs lost in Butte County between February and August during the shut down have been recovered, Stock said.

Butte County may have smaller companies or single-owner businesses than other metropolitan statistical areas in California, making job recovery more evident.

Stock did not have specific job numbers connected to the percentage.

She said Madera County was at the top, and Yuba-Sutter at the bottom.






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