We started 2020 with a national unemployment rate at 3.6%, the lowest we’ve seen since 1969. The economy was strong and talks of any economic slowdown were at least a year away. This all changed with the arrival and spike of COVID-19 in the US taking economic impact straight to the forefront of all of our minds.
An article in the New York Times revealed that more than 3 million people filed for unemployment benefits towards the end of March. To put this into perspective, just three weeks ago barely 200,000 people applied for jobless benefits. Three million is the largest number of applications in one week since 1982, when 695,000 applications were filed.
The hardest-hit industries according to USA Today include restaurants, gambling, travel (think airlines, cruises, hotels, etc.), retail, automakers and oil and gas. Typically when layoffs occur, the contingent workforce is the first to be affected.
While these numbers seem bleak, there’s hope created by sectors of the economy that are hiring in response to increased demand. If your contract job has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, check out these resources and tips.
You might also like: “COVID-19 and the Contingent Workforce: 4 Best Practices”
Who Is Hiring?
While some industries may be laying off staff due to the impact of coronavirus, that’s not the case for all industries. According to Vox.com and LinkedIn, there is increased demand and hiring in healthcare, delivery services, and retail (specifically supermarkets and hardware stores). Companies with the highest number of published openings last week included 7-Eleven, the National Guard, KPMG Tax Services and Amazon—the latter of which announced it was hiring 100,000 warehouse workers.
Check out the full list here.
Tips for Job Searching
The job search process can be exhausting even in a strong economy. With the stock market and unemployment numbers looking downright scary, it may feel overwhelming or discouraging to be in the job market. But do not fear. Now more than ever, employers are getting creative with how they conduct the hiring and onboarding process. There are bright spots in the job market, and there are companies still hiring.
If you find your job search has stalled, or you’ve recently become unemployed, now may be a good time to take advantage of free online resources for learning and developing new skills.
Always fantasized about an Ivy League education? Look no further than Class Central where they have hundreds of free Ivy League Courses. This includes Yale’s wildly popular “happiness” course, “The Science of Well Being”.
Need more options to choose from? Online learning sites like Coursera, and edX bring you 13,000 courses from 900 universities for free. Or choose from thousands of courses with 1 month free with LinkedIn Learning.
Our partners at Atrium have put together a great article on Skill Development in Quarantine.
Government and Corporate Resources
With unemployment numbers soaring, what can you expect in terms of government aid and support? The topic most talked about in the news is the $2 trillion dollar stimulus package. Now that it has made its way through congress, here are other government resources to review for Financial Aid. Additionally, NBC News has published a helpful Q&A to help you understand unemployment insurance. Worried about making your mortgage payment and rent at this time? The White House recently revealed that the President has ordered that foreclosures and evictions cease for 60 days.
It’s not just the government that can offer aid: student loan providers, utility, internet, phone, banks, and credit card companies join the growing list of corporations offering assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. This Hub for Help created by the NY Times provides resources and an email address to have your questions answered.
What Can Freelancers Do?
A growing segment of the gig economy includes freelancers, which make up 35% of the workforce and drive about $1 trillion in income. The once appealing flexibility of freelance working now puts the sector at risk: the majority of freelancers do not benefit from the same protections afforded to their full-time counterparts. CNBC has published this helpful guide for what freelancers should do to protect themselves in crisis situations.
The VectorVMS team is here for you during these uncertain times. Stay tuned for more information on the coronavirus pandemic and how it impacts the contingent labor industry. Stay safe!