FAIRFIELD — Solano County is slowly waking up from a hard Covid-19 sleep as unemployment fell from 15.2% in April to 14.2% in May, the Employment Development Department reported Friday.
The number of local jobs climbed to 125,400, a gain of 1,800 over April’s figure, the Labor Market Division of the EDD reported.
However, compared to May 2019, there are 20,200 fewer local jobs, the EDD reported.
One of the more promising figures was that construction added 1,000 jobs since April, now 12,400, though it is down 400 jobs compared to May 2019.
Restaurants also added 1,000 positions, to 8,000. The farm sector added 200 jobs, to 1,500.
The harder reality is being felt in retail, which dropped another 200 jobs to 14,000, the EDD reported.
The civilian labor force in Solano County was reported at 199,800, down from April’s total of 201,500. However, the number of residents employed went up 200 to 171,300, the EDD reported.
The number of residents seeking unemployment benefits in May was 28,400, which is 2,000 fewer than in April.
The state unemployment rate in May was 15.9%, down from 16.2% in April. The rate in May 2019 was 3.6%.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 13%, down from 14.4%. The jobless rate in May 2019 was 3.4%.
Unemployment numbers in Solano County, the state and across the nation saw these improvements as counties across the country began to lift business closures put in place in March to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
[Editor: Seems to me that SMALL BUSINESSES need to APPLY FOR A GRANT FAST! Grants are available to companies with up to 500 employees, and guess who has staff & resources to crank out applications in a hurry….? Note that Sole Proprietors are also eligible. – R.S.]
City of Benicia Announces Benicia Layoff Aversion Fund Grant, Round 2
The City of Benicia Economic Development Division is please to announce the second round of funding to help Benicia businesses avoid layoffs. Applications are being accepted June 1 – June 8. Details are available:
By Roger Straw, May 21, 2020
Solano County resubmitted it’s “Variance Attestation” yesterday, May 20, and State officials approved it on the same day. Talk about quick! Seems our County and State officials aren’t too worried about the inevitable new illnesses and deaths on the back half of our downward curve.
The variance attestation itself seems not to be available on the County’s website. I will post it here if/when I can get it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2020
News Contact: Matthew Davis, Senior Management Analyst and Public Communications Officer (707) 784-6111 MADavis@SolanoCounty.com
County resubmits COVID-19 attestation documentation to the State, looks to advance more quickly through Stage 2
SOLANO COUNTY – County officials are pleased to announce they have resubmitted COVID-19 County Variance Attestation paperwork to the California Department of Public Health, and are confident the County meets the criteria necessary for advancing more quickly through Stage 2 of the Governor’s order.
Counties with California Department of Public Health (CDPH) approved variance attestation plans for modification are permitted move more quickly through Stage 2 of the Governor’s Stay-at-Home public health order, including the safe reopening of destination retail stores like shopping malls and swap-meets, dine-in restaurants and schools – all with social distancing modifications.
“We believe that we are ready for this next step in the recovery process and look forward to expanding opportunities for our public and business communities,” says Erin Hannigan, District 1 Supervisor and Chairwoman of the Solano County Board of Supervisors. “Thank you to all of the County staff who worked on the attestation variance application process and for helping keep our community safe.”
To be approved to advance through Stage 2, either more quickly or in a different order, a county must attest they are ready to meet specific criteria, including stability of the disease rate in the community, protection of Stage 1 essential workers and vulnerable populations, have adequate testing, containment and hospital capacity and a COVID-19 containment plan.
“The state’s revised application for variance attestation was lengthy, and, based on their new criteria, we are confident we will be given CDPH approval,” says Bela T. Matyas, M.D., M.P.H, Solano County Public Health Officer. “As we move to advance more quickly through Stage 2 we will continue to monitor the situation, and our top priority will always remain the health and safety of Solano County residents.”
As Solano County moves to relax its Stay-at-Home health order, we encourage all residents to continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and Solano County Public Health social distancing best practices, including wearing a cloth face mask outside your home whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained, maintaining a physical distance of six-feet from others, practicing coughing and sneezing etiquette, using a hand sanitizer or washing your hands for at least 20-seconds and to stay at home if you’re not feeling well. Businesses that are permitted to reopen must abide by the social distancing requirements in the County’s and State’s Orders.
For more information about Solano County’s Roadmap to Recovery, social distancing protocol and frequently asked questions about the phased reopening, visit the Solano County website at www.SolanoCounty.com/COVID19 and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SolanoCountyPH.
SACRAMENTO – In the face of a global health crisis that has triggered a global financial crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom today submitted his 2020-21 May Revision budget proposal to the Legislature – a balanced plan to close a budget gap of more than $54 billion brought on swiftly by the COVID-19 recession.
“COVID-19 has caused California and economies across the country to confront a steep and unprecedented economic crisis – facing massive job losses and revenue shortfalls,” said Governor Newsom. “Our budget today reflects that emergency. We are proposing a budget to fund our most essential priorities – public health, public safety and public education – and to support workers and small businesses as we restart our economy. But difficult decisions lie ahead. With shared sacrifice and the resilient spirit that makes California great, I am confident we will emerge stronger from this crisis in the years ahead.”
The May Revision proposes to cancel new initiatives proposed in the Governor’s Budget, cancel and reduce spending included in the 2019 Budget Act, draw down reserves, borrow from special funds, temporarily increase revenues and make government more efficient. Due to the size of the challenge, there is no responsible way to avoid reductions. The budget will show that the most painful cuts will only be triggered if the federal government does not pass an aid package that helps states and local governments.
The proposal responds to the dramatic economic and revenue changes since January, when prudent fiscal management was reflected in a multi-year balanced budget plan with a $5.6 billion surplus and record reserve levels. The rapid onset of the COVID-19 recession in California has resulted in more than 4 million unemployment claims being filed since mid-March, the unemployment rate is now projected to be 18 percent for the year, and there is a $41 billion drop in revenues compared to January’s forecast. With a higher demand for social safety net services increasing state costs, the $54.3 billion deficit is more than three times the size of the record $16 billion set aside in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
This recession-induced swing of nearly $60 billion in just four months underscores the necessity of additional federal funds to protect public health and safety, public education and other core government functions, as well as to support a safe and swift economic recovery. If additional federal funds are not forthcoming, the May Revision spells out spending cuts necessary to meet the constitutional requirement for a balanced state budget.
While difficult decisions are required to close this sudden deficit as the state navigates to recovery, the May Revision is guided by principles of prudent fiscal management to protect public health, public safety, and public education; provide assistance to Californians who have been hurt the most by the pandemic; and invest in a safe and quick economic recovery.
Protecting Public Health, Public Safety, and Public Education
The May Revision proposes $44.9 billion in General Fund support for schools and community colleges and $6 billion in additional federal funds to supplement state funding. To address the decline in the constitutionally-required funding for schools and community colleges resulting from the COVID-19 recession, the May Revision proposes to reallocate $2.3 billion in funds previously dedicated to paying down schools’ unfunded liability to CalSTRS and CalPERS to instead pay the school employers’ retirement contributions. It also proposes a new obligation of 1.5 percent of state appropriation limit revenues starting in 2021-22 to avoid a permanent decline in school funding that grows to $4.6 billion in additional funding for schools and community colleges by 2023-24.
The May Revision prioritizes $4.4 billion in federal funding to address learning loss and equity issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 school closures this spring. These funds will be used by districts to run summer programs and other programs that address equity gaps that were widened during the school closures. These funds will also be used to make necessary modifications so that schools are prepared to reopen in the fall and help support parents’ ability to work. The May Revision also preserves the number of state-funded child care slots and expands access to child care for first responders.
The May Revision preserves community college free tuition waivers and maintains Cal Grants for college students, including the grants for students with dependent children established last year. Many workers return to higher education and job training after losing a job; continuing this initiative will prioritize affordability and access to these programs.
Supporting Californians Facing the Greatest Hardships
With the COVID-19 recession hitting harder on families living paycheck to paycheck, the May Revision prioritizes funding for direct payments to families, children, seniors and persons with disabilities. It maintains the newly expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, which targets one billion dollars in financial relief to working families whose annual incomes are below $30,000 – and including a $1,000 credit for those families with children under the age of six. It maintains grant levels for families and individuals supported by the CalWORKs and SSI/SSP programs. It prioritizes funding to maintain current eligibility for critical health care services in both Medi-Cal and the expanded subsidies offered through the Covered California marketplace for Californians with incomes between 400 percent and 600 percent of the federal poverty level. It estimates unemployment insurance benefits in 2020-21 will be $43.8 billion – 650 percent higher than the $5.8 billion estimated in the Governor’s Budget.
The May Revision also targets $3.8 billion in federal funds to protect public health and safety. It also proposes $1.3 billion to counties for public health, behavioral health, and other health and human services programs, and also proposes $450 million to cities to support homeless individuals.
State Government Savings and Efficiency
In addition to baseline reductions in state programs, savings in employee compensation are also necessary in the absence of federal funds. Negotiations will commence or continue with the state’s collective bargaining units to achieve reduced pay of approximately 10 percent. The May Revision includes a provision to impose reductions if the state cannot reach an agreement. In addition, nearly all state operations will be reduced over the next two years, and nonessential contracts, purchases and travel have already been suspended.
The COVID-19 pandemic has required an unprecedented shift to telework for state government that has allowed state managers, led by the Government Operations Agency, to rethink their business processes. This transformation will result in expanded long-term telework strategies, reconfigured office space, reduced leased space, and flexible work schedules for employees when possible. The Administration also continues working with state departments in delivering more government services online – including expansion of the Department of Motor Vehicles’ virtual office visits pilot to other departments and agencies with more face-to-face interactions with Californians.
Supporting Job Creation, Economic Recovery, and Opportunity
Given the critical role of small business in California’s economy, the May Revision proposes an augmentation of $50 million for a total increase of $100 million to the small business loan guarantee program to fill gaps in available federal assistance. This increase will be leveraged to access existing private lending capacity and philanthropy to provide necessary capital to restart California small businesses. To support innovation and the creation of new businesses, the May Revision retains January proposals to support new business creation by exempting first-year businesses from the $800 minimum franchise tax.
During this time of unprecedented unemployment, the Administration will work in partnership with the Legislature to help get people back to work and support the creation of good-paying jobs. It will develop proposals and actions to support a robust and equitable recovery both in the near term and the long term. To this end, the Administration is considering options to support job creation including: assistance to help spur the recovery of small businesses and the jobs they create, support for increased housing affordability and availability, and investments in human and physical infrastructure. Any investments and actions will focus on equity, shared prosperity and long-term growth.
The Governor has convened a Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery – a diverse group of leaders from business, labor, and the non-profit sector – to develop actionable recommendations and advise the state on how the state’s economic recovery can be expedited. The Administration is committed to additional actions, informed by the Task Force and other stakeholders, to support a safe, swift, equitable and environmentally-sound economic recovery. The Administration is also committed to working with colleges and universities to build on their experience with distance learning and develop a statewide educational program that will allow more students to access training and education through distance learning.