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California executives launch a coronavirus restoration report when the duty drive disintegrates

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Seven-month-old Business and Job Recovery Task Force, California Governor Gavin Newsom, is disbanding as the coronavirus pandemic hits a second peak. However, its co-chairs predict the state will see a major economic turnaround after the pandemic ends.

Billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, one of the co-chairs, said in a phone interview with CNBC that future priorities include bridging the digital divide, "where we have a number of specific proposals," and helping small businesses, which account for half of that employment in California.

Newsom convened the task force in April with more than 100 political and business titans, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Bob Iger, Disney's executive chairman, stepped down from the task force in October, two days after Disney announced 28,000 layoffs in its US parks.

So far, the task force has worked largely behind the scenes, meeting for Zoom video calls every two weeks.

Newsom co-chairs and also chief of staff, Steyer and Ann O & # 39; Leary, said it was a delicate meeting with business executives to discuss coronavirus control, while some also laid off thousands of their own employees.

"The business people felt enormously responsible to their employees and shareholders," said Steyer. "And that's perfectly normal, but we supported the governor in his determination that the health and safety of Californians came first. The best and strongest recovery would come when the coronavirus was under control."

"One of the things we also learned was how to really think about rebuilding the economy that we want to see in the future, how it looks from an equality and sustainability perspective," O & # 39; Leary said.

"We've really worked to think about the sectors that are hardest hit, the jobs that are hardest hit, and the Californians that are hardest hit. Often times, both black and low-income Californians are the hardest hit by the overlap hit by health and economic crisis. "

When asked about the shutdown of the task force in the wake of the increase in Covid 19 cases, Steyer said the body should always close its business before the end of the year.

"You are asking many of the leading people in California to put their time and effort in," Steyer said. "We were given the task of making this blueprint and obviously we are not through this pandemic, but the formal task has been completed."

Steyer and O & # 39; Leary said some of the committee members would continue to work informally on the proposals.

Your comments follow the release of the Task Force's final report on Friday reviewing the Task Force's achievements and challenges.

This is the first public report of its findings. The report focuses on, among other things:

Unemployment. California is facing significant unemployment, rising from a historic low of 3.9% in February 2020 to 16.4% in April and May. The unemployment rate in California was 11% in September and only a third of jobs have returned.

According to the report, 839,100 Californians were still employed less than February, and 4.4 million Californians were on unemployment insurance in early November.

It is also noted that job losses have not been evenly distributed, with the largest losses occurring in sectors where paint workers are employed in low-wage jobs, in hospitality, restaurants, retail and construction.

Small businesses. Task force members launched a new public-private partnership called the California Rebuilding Fund, which resulted in an additional $ 25 million state allocation. Lenders structured to support small business are offering a standardized loan of up to $ 100,000 to help businesses in a post-COVID economy.

"When we come back, we will come back stronger and better than ever before," said Steyer.

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Katherine Clark