The fallout from the coronavirus pandemic won’t be known for some time. It’s already hit the economy hard and now it’s hurting the jobs of many Americans.
As workers were shuffled out of the office into their homes over the last week, there’s been significant fear over what the office will look like when the COVID-19 outbreak passes. But for now, it’s had devastating repercussions for small businesses and employees everywhere, including part-time workers.
Eighteen percent of adults have reportedly been laid off or lost work hours due to the coronavirus, a new poll found.
A survey released Tuesday by NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist University polled 835 working adults in the US, finding that 25% of lower-income households (people making less than $50,000 a year) were either let go or had their hours cut. That’s nearly 1 in 5 households that have experienced layoffs or reduced work hours as workplaces have closed in an effort to encourage social distancing once the infection is contained.
The poll also found that 56% of American respondents said they considered the coronavirus outbreak a “real threat,” but still 38% claimed it was “blown out of proportion.”
The poll came before many places that seemed to be getting by taking drastic measures to combat the coronavirus. Disneyland and Universal Studios closed its theme parks, while the casinos that align the Las Vegas strip were ordered to shut down for 30 days by Nevada lawmakers.
While many workers are worried about job safety, Amazon recently announced that it is hiring 100,000 full and part-time workers across the US in its fulfillment centers and delivery networks to meet customer demands during the coronavirus outbreak. The move is designed to support communities that might not heave local services available due to businesses being forced to close.
“We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis. 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,” Amazon said in a blog post.
Kroger, a supermarket chain, also announced it has “immediate positions available” across retail stores, manufacturing plants, and distribution centers, according to USA Today.
Applicants could find work “within several days of applying,” the report noted.
Coronavirus cases in the US have surged past 7,000 as of Wednesday. More than 110 have died and hospitals might not be prepared to deal with the virus as it progresses, according to CNN.
“The bottom line is things will get much worse,” Dr. James Phillips, an assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital, told CNN.
“We’re at a significant risk of overwhelming the number of (hospital) beds we have.”