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Central Coast economy adapting to challenges of COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 9:41 PM, Oct 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 01:30:06-04

The ongoing pandemic continues to impact the national and local economy, forcing many businesses to change how they operate and some people working multiple jobs to get by.

Impacts to the economy include the third straight month of slower hiring, according to the U.S. Labor Department latest report, and economic recovery from COVID-19 has weakened.

San Luis Obispo resident Sarah Frederick was laid off from Raku Ramen in March, when she says the COVID-19 pandemic forced a reduction of the restaurant's staff size by one third.

"My boss had to lay me off and it was undetermined how long it was going to be," Frederick said.

Filling for unemployment and receiving stimulus checks have helped her make ends meet.

United Staffing Associates, an employment agency, says they have noted a decline in response in their outreach due to stimulus check distribution.

Marketing Director of United Staffing Associates, Wendi Patterson, says wage requirements of candidates have increased and many are looking for stability right now.

“They’re looking about what their wage requirements are based on what they’re financially capable of making ends meet for," Patterson said.

“I’m still only part-time because of coronavirus actually, so I had to get another job," Frederick said.

Positions in industries like food service and hospitality have been a challenge to fill along the Central Coast.

"Those would be positions that are offering $13 an hour," Patterson said. "It has been really, really tough.”

Some businesses have had to start thinking outside of the box to stay afloat.

"We were just thinking what do we need to make it accessible to people to see our merchandise so we started doing our online," Anna & Mom boutique owner Anna Pecharich said.

Pecharich started selling merchandise through a virtual shopping Facebook Live to keep customers engaged and has also established appointment shopping only to keep customers safe and socially distanced.

Pecharich says these types of steps have allowed them to expand their business during a time when others are having to close their doors.

United Staffing Associates says they anticipate continue employee absenteeism ahead of the cold and flu season, but encourage those looking for work to continue to apply for jobs.