Jobless claims remain ‘frightening’ as employers pull back on hiring

Since the U.S. economy shut down seven weeks ago, more than 33 million people have lost their jobs, including 3.169 million who filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 2. And nearly 7 in 10 Americans say their income has shrunk because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Financial Times-Peterson Foundation U.S. Economic Monitor report.

“The outlook for the labor market remains frightening,” Nick Bunker, Hiring Lab’s director of economic research, said. “Not only does the pace of layoffs remain at unprecedented levels, but hiring intentions remain depressed.” 

According to the Financial Times-Peterson Foundation, the majority of Americans say it will take a year or more for the economy to fully recover from the coronavirus shutdown. 

Congress has provided several forms of assistance to Americans facing financial hardship in the last round of fiscal stimulus including: foreclosure and forbearance protections for federally backed mortgages, $1,200 payments for those earning $75,000 or less, and a 13-week extension and an additional $600 a week in unemployment assistance. 

While helpful, these moves fail to reassure laid-off Americans who would rather work, that the labor market will welcome them back soon. While the surge in online delivery and grocery sales in March meant new job opportunities at food delivery services, grocers, and pharmacies, those bright spots have grown dim, according to a recent report by Indeed

Job postings have dropped 39.3% as of May 1, compared to the same period in 2019. New job postings, which Indeed defines as having been posted for seven days or less, are down as much as 45.3%. 

It’s no surprise the tourism and hospitality industries are among the hardest hit with job openings down 67% from the same period last year. 

But many laid-off workers seeking new employment may be disappointed if they’re focused on delivery giants, one of the few employers in the labor market still hiring to keep up with demand. While this sector is performing better than the economy overall, job posting growth is 31.4% slower than the same time last year. 

In this, Wednesday, May 6, 2020 photo, a now hiring sign is displayed on a street corner in North Miami Beach, Fla. Initial jobless claims in Florida dropped by more than half last week compared to the prior week, according to figures released Thursday, as unemployed Floridians continued facing problems signing up and receiving benefits because of difficulties with a computer system. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Amazon boasted in April that it would be bringing on 75,000 workers after hiring about 100,000 in March. Yet there’s been a slowdown in loading and stocking job postings for the e-commerce sector overall. 

In spite of the ongoing health crisis, nurse hiring fell 29.9% and pharmacy postings dropped 26% from 2019, according to Indeed. 

The domino effect of job losses in sectors directly impacted by the coronavirus is spreading to jobs that could likely be done from home, according to Indeed. Software development postings are down 32.8% and banking and finance postings dropped 48.7% compared to last year. 

Metro areas where job postings have dropped the most are Miami, Honolulu, and Sarasota, Fla., according to Indeed.

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