TRD Insights: California layoffs jumped 2,000% in April

Analysis of WARN notices shows San Francisco hit hardest

San Francisco (Credit: iStock)
San Francisco (Credit: iStock)

April was another record-breaking month for layoffs in California. Companies announced 150,666 of them, up from 6,813 in April 2019, according to an analysis of daily Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notices by The Real Deal.

That’s a jump of 2,111 percent.

Some parts of the state have been hurt more than others by the coronavirus pandemic and the mandatory closures and stay-at-home orders issued to curb its spread. In April, as in March, layoffs generally were more pervasive in urban areas where a larger percentage of the population is employed in the hospitality or food-service industries.

The five counties with the highest rate of layoffs in April 2020 all had populations greater than 800,000.

San Francisco County had the highest per capita layoff rate of all counties in April: about 105 per 10,000 residents were announced via WARN notices in April 2020. Although the layoffs were concentrated in hospitality and food service, several billion-dollar tech companies headquartered in San Francisco such as Yelp, Eventbrite and Opendoor announced big layoffs as well.

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Still, layoffs haven’t exclusively hit urban areas, and some urban areas haven’t been hit as hard as their large populations would predict. In Napa County, with a population of just 140,530, there were 46 layoffs per 10,000 residents. In Los Angeles County, which is home to more than 10 million, there were only 44 layoffs per 10,000 residents.

See the interactive map and scatterplot below to see which California counties have been hit hardest by layoffs: