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Job Losses Mount in Pasadena as Pandemic Wears Down Businesses; 2,011 Jobs Lost to Mass Layoffs

Employment Development Department releases figures which, while not covering all local businesses, tell a sobering employment picture

Published on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 | 2:22 pm

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[Updated]  More than 2,000 workers in Pasadena have lost their jobs to mass layoffs and closures since late-March as businesses and families struggle to cope with the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to state data.

The California Employment Development Department data relates to filings by local employers that employ, or have employed in the preceding 12 months, 75 or more full-time or part-time workers.

It is unknown how many workers have been temporarily or permanently laid off by smaller employers.

A total of 2,011 workers have lost employment in the city, the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification database shows. State law required California employers to post notice of mass layoffs, closures and relocations.

Some of the layoffs were listed as “temporary,” while others were labeled “permanent.”

The biggest single loss came from the Langham Huntington Pasadena hotel, which reported 472 permanent layoffs in late May. The hotel has been closed due to COVID-19 since early-April.

The hotel had initially planned to reopen with safety measures in place in early July, but reconsidered after the recent surge in novel coronavirus infections throughout the county and the state, representatives said.

“In light of the troubling spike in COVID-19 cases in California over the past week, we have made the difficult decision to delay the hotel’s reopening for the safety of our colleagues, guests and community,” the Langham Huntington said in a written statement.

“Our hope is to be back in operation and open as soon as this situation is contained, so that we can continue to be Los Angeles’ original getaway,” the statement added. “We expect to be able to communicate a reopening date at that time. We thank our guests and colleagues for their patience and support during this unprecedented time.”

Hotels across the city were hit hard in recent months as the pandemic dried up the tourism and travel industries.

The Hilton Pasadena has reported 119 temporary layoffs, while the Westin Pasadena hotel has reported 114 temporary layoffs and the Sheraton Pasadena Hotel has documented 102 layoffs of unknown status, according to state data.

Other businesses significant job losses included The Kitchen For Exploring Foods, with 134 temporary layoffs; First Student, with 133 temporary layoffs; Yard House Pasadena, with 120 temporary layoffs; and the True Food Kitchen, with 110 temporary layoffs.

Two organizations that reported mass layoffs were also listed among local businesses that received federal loans under the federal CARES Act.

The Pasadena Symphony Association, which has reported 68 temporary layoffs, received between $150,000 and $350,000 in loans under the federal assistance program, records show.

Pasadena Symphony and POPS CEO Lora Unger said in a statement that the layoffs came after the loans were exhausted.

“Due to the ongoing mandated government closure on all concert gatherings, the Pasadena Symphony Associated issued WARN notices mid June to its musicians and production personnel to comply with national and state statutes, to the extent applicable. The notices were issued following the exhaustion of PPP funds, which provided temporary financial assistance prior to June,” Unger said.

“We look forward to resuming concert operations just as soon as we receive guidance from government authorities on how to do so. In the meantime, we are producing weekly online content for our patrons and actively fundraising to ensure we have the financial resources to resume concert operations.”

Auto dealership RUSNAK Pasadena, which reported 22 permanent layoffs, received between $2 million and $5 million in CARES Act loans.

Rusnak did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Figures from the California Department of Employment Development Department placed Pasadena’s May unemployment rate at 16.8%, representing 11,800 people out of work. The rate was more than quadruple the 3.6% unemployment rate reported in May of 2019.

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