Tom York on Business: San Diego Lagging Other Cities in Jobs Recovery from COVID – Times of San Diego

A help wanted sign is posted at a taco stand in Solana Beach. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Personal financial services website WalletHub has unveiled a list of cities that are having the best recovery in terms of reducing unemployment. It’s disappointing to report that San Diego isn’t anywhere near the top. In fact, we’re way down the rankings, coming in at 117 on the list of 180 cities.

The local jobless rate as of May is 6.2%, close to the national average of 5.8%. This unfavorably compares to the No. 1 city on the list, Manchester, NH, which posted a 1.6% jobless rate.

Despite lagging in terms of getting people back to work, the region is still expected to bounce back as our economy emerges post-COVID. Tourism, among the region’s largest sectors, is predicted to do well.

“Around two-thirds of Americans plan to take a trip this summer, which should inject a lot of money into the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst, in a news release.

Compared to other cities nearby, San Diego’s situation is not all that bad. Los Angeles, for example, experienced a doubling in unemployment from January 2020 to May 2021, according to the report, posting an overall jobless rate of 10.1%.

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Meanwhile, despite lagging in terms of a jobs recovery, there are some sparks of good news flying around. For example, San Diego law firm Tyson & Mendes LLP said it needs to hire 100 attorneys this year to catch up with demand for its services in insurance and civil litigation.

Despite a national economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic, the firm has seen 17% growth in the past year, adding new offices in Chicago, Connecticut, New Jersey and Tennessee, and recruiting 10 partners from competing firms since the start of 2020.

The firm, which now has 100 attorneys, is 60% women owned, according to a media release.

A nurse holds a Gales shoe. Courtesy of the commpany

Local footwear entrepreneur Rob Gregg is introducing Gales, a new shoe for health care workers, especially nurses, that helps protect against such threats as the coronavirus.

Gregg said the shoe, which has antimicrobial, waterproof, slip-resistant properties, was named after famed Florence Nightingale, considered the originator of modern nursing practices.

Gregg said he was inspired by a recent experience involving the coronavirus pandemic.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, a family member fell ill with COVID-19 and was rushed to the hospital where his condition worsened,” Gregg said in a news release. “Due to the incredible care provided by medical staff he recovered from critical condition in five days.”

“There are 20.7 million nurses worldwide, yet … not a single provider of protective PPE footwear,” he said. “We put so much emphasis on masks, gloves and scrubs, but what about the feet?”

Gregg said he will start shipping the PPE work shoe in August.  He has more than a decade in the shoe trade, and founded Rob McAllan, a luxury footwear line, in 2014.

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After a year and a half of planning and construction, new Filipino food focused eatery White Rice has opened at the Liberty Station public market food hall. Chef Phillip Esteban is the owner operator.

Esteban was behind Craft Meals Catering, which delivered meals to corporate clients, and which had to close in March 2020 due to the pandemic. But he quickly recovered, expanding operations and launching a new lunch service delivering Filipino rice bowls across southern San Diego County.

White Rice is a result of that experience.

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Finally, this item of note. Danielle Dietz Livolsi, who started Del Mar Heights-based NuttZo a decade years ago, says she will be adding two new products to her line up of nut and seed butters this summer — Five Seed Tahini Fusion and Chocolate Keto Crunchy.

Since the first batch of butter was concocted more than a decade ago, NuttZo has become a nationally recognized consumer product, sold in more than 10,000 grocery stores, including Walmart and Costco. The company donates a portion of ales to sister nonprofit, Project Left Behind, which funds orphanages around the world. 

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to

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