North Bay layoff notices top 10,000 jobs since coronavirus pandemic

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Online jobs portal Glassdoor one of the latest North Bay employers to notify California regulators that it was trimming jobs since the coronavirus pandemic led to unprecedented lockdowns of the global economy to contain the spread.

The Mill Valley-based company on May 13 filed a notice of 81 "permanent" cuts at the headquarters office, effective May 7, among 300 layoffs at its locations in San Francisco and elsewhere in the Bay Area, according to the latest information available from the state Employment Development Department.

As of Tuesday, there were WARN Act notices filed for 10,372 layoffs at 161 North Bay locations from March 1 through May 19. Statewide, there had been 487,669 job cuts in 4,486 notices in that time period.

But these notices don’t capture all the job cuts, as roughly 4.2 million Californians had filed for unemployment insurance during the pandemic and 147,000 from North Bay counties, according to the latest U.S. Labor Department statistics and analysis by Sonoma State University economist Robert Eyler. Yet the WARN notices do give a glimpse into the wide array of industries impacted by the lockdown.

Hotels, restaurants and public events were the first targets for the lockdowns to lessen person-to-person transmission of the virus. North Bay notices filed this month, some for cuts made in March and April, are dominated by restaurants (93 temporary cuts at Red Lobster in Fairfield and 25 permanent cuts at Boudin in Corte Madera), restaurant distributors (25 at Gold Star Foods in Dixon and 11 at Southern Glaziers Wine & Spriits in Rohnert Park) and winery hospitality staff (66 temporary cuts at Jackson Family Wines facilities in St. Helena and Glen Ellen).

State and federal WARN notice rules apply to companies that have employed at least 75 full- or part-time employees in the previous 12 months and for layoffs at such “covered establishments” that involve 50 or more workers. The California WARN Act is intended to give state and local officials 60 days of coming claims for unemployment insurance from affected workers.

But that advance warning was waived for “business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseen as of the time that notice would have been required,” according to the March 17 executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom as part of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency measures.

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