While it was already clear Americans were hurting from the economic ripples of COVID-19, with unemployment increasing each week since mid-March, the effects extend well beyond the latest statistics from the Department of Labor.
The latest numbers show that nearly half the country has been financially affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist nationwide poll. This number accounts for individuals who have been let go, had their hours reduced, or have someone in their household who was let go or had their hours reduced.
This polling comes on the heels of a new briefing by National Institutes of Health director Dr. Anthony Fauci, who indicated Wednesday morning that should states lift restrictions too soon, the country could see a harsh second wave of infections throughout the second half of the year.
“If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well,” Fauci said. “If we don’t do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.”
Preparing for the Worst
Even if you are among the 50 percent of Americans who have yet to feel the financial strain of coronavirus, its wide-reaching effects over the last two months alone, and the possibility of the current economic lockdown extending well into the year’s second half, should be cause for preparation.
While states like Georgia and South Carolina recently reopened some businesses, major cities like New York and Los Angeles are slated to keep large sectors of their economies closed until June at the earliest, which will likely extend or expand the degree of economic hardship for many Americans.
As such, planning to address job security following a layoff or furlough can set you up for failure.
Such preparations are especially important for gig-economy and contract workers, who will likely place among the hardest hit by the pandemic — a majority of gig-economy workers currently have no steady income, per a new report by the World Economic Forum.
As the economy sluggishly recovers over the course of this year (and likely the next), workers can refocus their skill sets and pivot according to market trends.
For instance, an increase in demand for jobs in the freelance, survey, and market-research industries represent new employment possibilities as sectors increasingly shift their operations online.
The Bottom Line
Successful adaptation to our changing economy requires workers to plan ahead, utilize their strengths, and hone in on new opportunities created in the wake of COVID-19. Stay up-to-date by checking out CentSai’s coronavirus coverage, and prepare in confidence.