COVID-19 Job Losses in L.A.

Updated dashboard reflects estimates through May 2020

Explore job losses in each of L.A.’s neighborhoods and Council Districts below. Click on the map to see raw numbers and updated industry estimates, and click again to return to the citywide view.

While L.A. gained back 16,000 jobs in May, the City is still down more than 252,000 jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As the City relaxed the “Safer at Home” order, some industries began rehiring workers for the first time since February, especially in these industry sectors: Accommodation and Food Services, Waste Management, Construction and Manufacturing. However, job losses continued to mount in other sectors, including Information and Education.

Controller Galperin’s updated dashboard (above) includes an additional map that details job losses by Council District. Through May, residents in Council District 4 suffered the highest number of job losses, particularly in the Information and Accommodation and Food Services industries.



Read Galperin’s original release detailing job losses in March and April below. (Estimates are updated to reflect revised numbers released by EDD for April.)

Nearly three months after the City and County of Los Angeles issued orders shuttering most non-essential businesses and keeping residents at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is painfully clear that the pandemic has taken a steep toll on people’s lives and the local and national economies. Unemployment increased dramatically during the months of March and April — reaching record breaking numbers across nearly all industries. Job losses have particularly impacted people of color, and a recent national survey by the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research found that African Americans and Latinos were more likely to have lost their jobs than whites.

In order to better understand how unemployment has affected Angelenos, L.A. Controller Ron Galperin created this data story to show the distribution of job losses, by industry, across the City. He found that Los Angeles has lost an estimated 270,000 jobs in the past two months. Neighborhoods have an estimated 14.8 percent to 18 percent fewer jobs now than they did before COVID-19 — with a citywide average of 16.2 percent fewer — a dramatic decrease that has touched hundreds of thousands of families and sent economic shock waves through most communities.

The estimated job losses displayed above shows economic devastation in nearly every L.A. neighborhood, but the impact is particularly acute in the central, southern and northeastern parts of the City, areas with higher concentrations of African American and Latino families, immigrants, low-income renters and single-parent households than other neighborhoods. While the percentages may seem similar numerically, the types of jobs lost vary greatly in each neighborhood, as different areas are home to workers in unique businesses and industries. For example, 31 percent of the estimated jobs lost in Pico-Union, one of the most impacted neighborhoods in the City, are held by residents working in the Accommodation and Food sector, followed by Retail Trade and Health Care. As reopening the economy continues, some industries will regain jobs quicker than others, and unfortunately, many jobs may not come back right away. Understanding which neighborhoods are populated with highly impacted workers will help pinpoint areas of L.A. that require additional resources to recover from the economic fallout of COVID-19.

To put L.A.’s numbers into a national and regional context, the graph below shows how unemployment claims have increased dramatically over March and April 2020, far surpassing Great Recession levels.

According to the California Employment Development Department, L.A. County lost more than 685,000 jobs in March and April, with some of the hardest hit industries being Accommodation and Food Services; Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation; and Retail Trade. Look at the chart below to see the negative impact of the COVID-19 shutdown on nearly every major industry in the area.

To create this data story, the Controller’s Office adapted a methodology used by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research to estimate job losses. It is important to note that, because they are estimates, the figures herein may not be comparable to actual job loss/pay cuts in each neighborhood and should be interpreted as relative job loss levels. The number of total job losses across all industries is not directly comparable to the “Employment” number shown in Labor Force data. Read more about the Methodology for Generating Industry Employment Data. Self-employed, unpaid family workers, and private household employees are not included in “Industry Employment” data, nor are reductions in hours worked captured. As a result, some job losses and employees whose hours have been reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, are not reflected in the job loss estimates shown here. 

Visit the Controller’s COVID-19 Resource Hub to view more information about how COVID-19 has impacted Los Angeles, and where you can find the assistance you need.