Economists and government officials have been quick to classify recent job losses as a temporary feature of the coronavirus economy — but some of the industries hit hardest by COVID-19 are now anticipating these layoffs to be permanent.
Companies across the airline and retail sectors issued memos to staff and shareholders over the past week noting they anticipate contractions in their respect industries to be longstanding.
For example, General Electric announced Monday its intention to scale back 13,000 jobs in jet engine production, following a previous decision by the company in late March to cut 10 percent of its domestic workforce.
Similarly, United Airlines has recently encouraged members of its administrative staff to leave the company voluntarily, following a loss of $1.7 billion during the first quarter of 2020.
Such decision-making comes during a period when recreational travel is seemingly nonexistent and air traffic has come to a grinding halt, eliminating positions for flight attendants, pilots, ground staff, and more.
Other Sectors Feeling the Pain
This past Monday also brought the news of American prep clothier J. Crew’s filing for bankruptcy, a consequence of our current sustained retail shutdown.
Additional estimations that many Americans may not return to work for the remainder of the year add to an already bleak picture fro those hoping to return to work in the near term.
Although shutdowns related to COVID-19 have affected the economy as a whole, some businesses are feeling the pain more than others.
External to the airline and retail sector, significant layoffs across the food-service and hospitality sectors could last long after the virus passes.
Food services and accommodations account for 42 percent of the jobs most vulnerable to extended layoffs and furloughs, according to a new report by McKinsey Global Institute.
Could the Novel Coronavirus Mean Permanent Layoffs?
As the economy recovers slowly, many of the jobs across these industries could be lost entirely to a large-scale economic contraction.
Without additional relief beyond unemployment insurance (for which wait times can be long and frustrating) and a $1,200 individual stimulus from the IRS, workers in these industries will likely have to pivot toward new careers to make ends meet — and those still employed will likely have to remain vigilant of further cutbacks in their respective industries to prepare accordingly.
Finding Solutions After Layoffs
This can include finding temporary employment among the few industries that are still hiring throughout the pandemic, which includes sectors such as food delivery, pharmaceuticals, package fulfillment, and grocery.
That said, companies like Amazon and grocery delivery app Instacart have recently faced criticism for an inability to enforce social distancing and safe working conditions throughout the pandemic. Such developments put unemployed professionals in the precarious position of choosing between being out-of-work or risking potential infection.
Individuals with skills that allow them to work from home, however, may be able to find new opportunities as much of the economy shifts to remote operations, although they should keep an eye out for potential scams.
Follow CentSai’s COVID-19 page for more daily updates.