Wednesday, August 19, 2020
David's Data Digest: The Unequal Impacts of Unemployment
The COVID-19 outbreak has swelled the ranks of the unemployed far beyond that which was seen during the Great Recession. In fact, unemployment increased more in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession. The graph below compares June 2020 employment rates for places in the Coachella Valley with the 2019 average. 
The drastic rise in unemployment has disproportionately affected households with low incomes. Opportunity Insights, a team of researchers based at Harvard University, has created a useful website called Track the Recovery to provide the latest COVID-related economic data to help inform local stakeholders. For today’s digest we used the site to look at recent employment data. These data are only available at the state level (some data on the site are available at the zip code level). By June 27, employment rates decreased 9.9% in California compared to January 2020, representing the sixth highest dip in the United States. Only New York, the District of Columbia, Nevada, Vermont, and Hawaii dropped more, with Hawaii dropping 27%.

But if you look at the data more closely by income bracket, you see that drops in employment vary greatly by household income. In households with incomes of less than $27,000, employment dropped 26.4% in California. Only Arizona and Vermont had higher drops, at 26.4% and 31.1%. By contrast, California households with incomes above $60,000 had a drop of employment of only 2.6%, putting our state in 7th place for biggest drops in employment in this income bracket. The map below shows the proportion of households in the Coachella Valley with incomes of less than $27,000. 
Sources: Opportunity Insights – Track the Recovery, Esri Business Analyst 2020
It's not light reading, but if economic development matters to you, it's worth it: economist Carl Schramm explores how restoring competitiveness can save American cities.

With many school districts opting for distance learning to start the year, working parents are feeling pinched like never before. The economist quoted in this WSJ article reiterated what we've been saying for months: "Here's the deal; if you care about U.S. economic growth... this should be one of the first areas of concern for you."

A trend towards build-to-rent single family homes was already underway. It's possible that these larger rentals will continue to gain popularity as people spend more time at home due to COVID-19.

More changes which can be credited to increased at-home work: personalized home office packages for new construction. KB Homes is rolling them out for $2k-3k.

A Cincinnati entrepreneur was turned down for a PPP loan because he had a criminal record. Instead of merely accepting the bad news, he pushed to get the rules changed for others in the same situation.

COVID-19 tests in many areas of California are returning results so slowly that they are virtually worthless for preventing community spread.

Cancelled and postponed college football seasons do more than disrupt autumn traditions. Many college towns are concerned about the livelihoods of businesses that rely on game-day sales.
For the past several years, the Desert Business Association has hosted a series of free workshops sponsored by Southern California Edison (SCE) to enhance individual small business owner/manager skills. 
Goal Setting for Increased Business Performance will be held on Tuesday, August 25, from 8:45 to 12:00 p.m. During this interactive presentation, businesses will learn how to enhance current and future operations in the current business climate. This free workshop is open to all Coachella Valley businesses. Find more information and register online.
LifeStream Blood Bank's 9 Cities Challenge runs through Aug 31. Find a Blood Drive near you or visit a donor center.

The need for blood donations is severe. The 9 Cities Blood Drive Challenge is underway, and you can do your part to help local hospital patients while also helping your city claim top honors. As of the time of this writing, over 900 donations have been collected, with a goal of collecting 1,200! Click to see which city is in the lead and to find a drive near you.
Please continue to conserve energy as we experience extreme heat throughout the state. Southern California Edison (SCE) is preparing for the possibility of additional California Independent System Operator (CAISO) rotating outages to prevent a potential widespread disturbance to California's electric transmission grid.

Pay special attention to energy conservation between the high-demand hours of 3-10 p.m. See SCE's Energy Saving Tips for more information and find information on Rotating Outages here.
Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just need to break up the routine of eating at home, patio dining in Greater Palm Springs is delightful at any time of year.

Not sure where you can go for al fresco dining? The Greater Palm Springs CVB has you covered with a list of choices in every city.

Even with expanded outdoor dining, social distancing can mean seating is limited. It's a good idea to call ahead to reserve a table. Bon Appétit
Applications for $10,000 Riverside County COVID-19 Business Assistance Grants are still being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Grants available while funds last or through August 31.

Expanded eligibility for this grant funding includes sole proprietors (those with no employees) and businesses that received an SBA EIDL loan or advance. Businesses that received PPP loans are not eligible. Applications must meet certain other criteria: visit the website to learn more and apply.

Coachella Valley Economic Partnership| Website