The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has sent shockwaves through the global economy. As governments at both the federal and state levels scramble to prevent the virus’ further spread, entire industries have shuttered and layoffs have begun en masse — the latest numbers signal that 3.28 million Americans have filed for unemployment as of March 21 according to the Department of Labor, a dramatic increase from the 282,000 filings in the week prior.
While Congress inked a hurried stimulus package guaranteeing $1,200 to most Americans, including freelance and gig-economy workers, this cash transfer only scratches the surface in terms of providing economic relief. Millions are suddenly unemployed or under-employed, and are looking for whatever immediate opportunities are available.
Thankfully, all is not lost. There are a handful of jobs hiring right now — and a few even looking to increase their workforce in response to this pandemic. And even if you’re among the lucky to find yourself relatively unaffected by COVID-19, they’re worth consideration if you want to build up extra emergency savings during this unprecedented period of change.
As such, if you’re searching for jobs hiring right now, look no further than these four industries:
1. Grocery Stores and Delivery Apps
One of the immediate precautionary measures taken by state governments was to close all businesses deemed non-essential to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19’s spread. This led to the immediate shutdown of many enterprises we take advantage of on a day-to-day basis — coffeeshops, clothing retailers, bars, and restaurants are among some of the worst affected.
Among the businesses deemed essential are grocery stores, and in some states liquor stores (thank God).
Likely in response to worries about a more severe shutdown, or an order to “shelter in place,” consumers are increasingly stocking their pantries and taking advantage of home-delivery options.
Downloads of grocery delivery apps Instacart and Shipt have grown over 100 percent, according to data from Statista. Given that both applications rely on a gig-economy service model (and are still posting listings soliciting new drivers nationwide), they present a quick-hire, flexible job opportunity for extra cash.
Alternatively, nationwide chains like Kroger (and its affiliates), Costco, and Safeway are all currently hiring to satiate an uptick in demand and long lines at their brick and mortar locations.
2. Online Retailers
If you’ve ever stress-purchased a Himalayan salt lamp at 3 am, you’ll likely understand the sudden increase of online shopping this past month.
Online retailers have seen a huge boost in sales worldwide, largely in response to a worried population seeking to avoid contact with possible carriers of the disease — and probably as a form of retail therapy in response to being cooped up inside all day.
Consumers in Italy and China have reported a greater proclivity towards e-commerce in March, according to a report from market research firm Ipsos, a possible sign of future trends for countries like the United Kingdom and the United States.
In response to this increase in online activity, and longer shipping delays for consumers buying non-essential items, Amazon announced a plan to hire 100,000 new full- and part-time employees. Walmart also plans to hire 150,000 associates at fulfillment centers and distribution centers nationwide.
Both companies have stressed the immediacy of these hirings, and the temporary nature of these positions.
“We know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as a part of this crisis,” said Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations David Clarke in a press release. “We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.”
With the e-commerce industry trending upward, both represent opportunities for individuals looking for jobs hiring right now, in the immediate term.
3. Pharmacies and Drugstores
National headlines regarding a wide-spread shortage of face masks, as well as the perplexingly long line at my local pharmacy, serve as constant reminders that Americans are concerned about their well-being, likely now more than ever.
With this greater concern for personal health, pharmacies and drugstores in need of fresh blood (figuratively). Walgreens and CVS are hiring 9,500 and 50,000 new employees nationwide respectively.
These positions are primarily on the customer-facing end — positions such as store and customer-service associates entail the majority of the job listings on both companies’ employment sites, though there are delivery and fulfillment center opportunities, as well.
Moreover, if you’re the type who still has a moral compass, these jobs may offer some peace of mind given you’re helping individuals receive the care (and drugs) necessary during a public health epidemic while not directly exposing yourself to COVID-19.
“I started as a pharmacy technician at Walgreens eight years ago, and have loved what I do ever since,” said pharmacy manager Ebony Rhem in a blog post for Walgreens’ website. “I came into this field to help people, and am glad I’m able to do that.”
4. Restaurant and Food Delivery
Look, we’re all doing our best to social distance as much as possible, but truth be told not everyone can be a Master Chef. Though I consider myself a bit of an amateur saucier (look it up), I can enjoy my normally decadent homemade cooking for only so long before I start to go a little bit stir-fry crazy.
I imagine this lack of world-class culinary aptitude is why a number of national governments have allowed restaurants offering take-out or delivery options to continue operation — luckily, this presents opportunities for gainful employment for those seeking a temporary gig.
In the same way that consumers are turning to online grocery shopping, delivery services have seen an increase in jobs in the last two months.
“Delivery is one of the industries experiencing the most growth currently, along with healthcare and grocery” says career expert Caitlin Proctor of job-search site ZipJobs, citing the nearly 500,000 available postings for such employment on LinkedIn. And fast-food chains are quickly taking notice.
Both Domino’s and Papa John’s announced their intention to hire 10,000 and 20,000 new employees, respectively, with a primary focus on enlisting delivery drivers. Not to be outdone or overcooked, Pizza Hut is bringing on an additional 30,000 workers to satiate everyone’s occasional desire for a personal pan(demic) pie.
External to full-time employment, food delivery apps like GrubHub, UberEats, and Postmates are still hiring drivers on an hourly basis. All three also allow for contactless-delivery at drop-off, reducing the likelihood of disease transmission while working.
The Bottom Line on Jobs Hiring Right Now
With time, it’s likely that COVID-19 will pass and the job market will sluggishly recover — such is the cycle of the economy.
Until then, the best we can do is heed advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, utilize what government safety nets exist, and take advantage of available opportunities. Keep your chin up, cover your cough, and don’t lose hope — we’ll get through this eventually.