In October, California added 66,000 jobs, dropping the unemployment rate below 10% for the first time since March. Covid-19 has taken a toll on small businesses to the point were some have had to permanently close since the state’s lockdown order began.
A comeback in the number of coronavirus cases in the state, however, has made Sacramento impose new restrictions on business operations to stop the increase of cases. The restrictions include a 10pm to 5am curfew that will see most restaurants be able to only offer takeout and delivery services. For nonessential businesses this means total closure.
Chris Dombrowski, the acting director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, said, “California’s ongoing economic recovery depends upon each and every one of us doing our part.” To the contrary, Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) said that the governor’s curfew “will only further decimate struggling businesses.”
The number of unemployed has not been equal. Research from Harvard and Brown universities show that jobs whose pay is more than $60,000 annually declined only 1.3%. In the meantime, jobs whose pay was below $27,000 a year declined 28.1%. Yet again, this shows the drastic treatment of the common people of California by the job market. A disparaging number which clearly shows California’s great class divide as exposed by the pandemic.
California also had the largest number of unemployment filings in the nation. In other words, the state accounted for more than 20% of the nation’s unemployment claims only last week. Also, since March, the state of California has paid more than $110 billion in pure unemployment benefits and has processed more than 16.4 million claims. In December, roughly 750,000 people could lose their unemployment benefits since several federal programs are set to expire.
California health administrators have also advised that if the number keeps increasing in the coming days, the state should implement further lockdown restrictions, this time making the majority of people mandatorily stay at home unless they are going about on essential business. These and other restrictions mandated by Sacramento will inevitably put a strain on businesses already hanging by a thin thread. Whether our lawmakers in Sacramento decide to hear pleas from these small business owners or try to give credit to their name for stopping coronavirus at their expense is something we should look after in these coming days.