During the third week of March, a record 3.3 million people filed for unemployment, far surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982. Some economists say that this is only the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment, one that could result in over 47 million Americans losing their jobs and send the unemployment rate over 32%, according to St. Louis Fed projections.
A new survey confirms that more layoffs could definitely be taking place over the next three months, providing a grim outlook for the economy due to the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly 50% of companies surveyed say they are at least somewhat likely to conduct layoffs over the next three months, and 37% of the companies reported that they have already instituted a hiring freeze.
More layoffs to come
The online survey, conducted from March 20 to 26 by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm, analyzed responses from more than 250 companies, varying in size and sector.
During the time of the survey, the count of coronavirus cases in the country reached 18,000, and many companies were asking employees to work from home. California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York have instituted stay-at-home policies. Now, 27 states have implemented similar stay-at-home policies.
Here’s a breakdown of what the survey found:
- 49% of companies said they are very or somewhat likely to conduct layoffs in the next three months
- 11% reported they have conducted permanent layoffs
- 7% of companies said they conducted temporary layoffs
“Millions of Americans filed for unemployment last week, so it is clear companies across the country are instituting very real and difficult cuts. Employers are wary of letting their workers go right now after fighting so hard to find and retain them during one of the tightest labor markets in recent history,” said Andrew Challenger, the senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Job loss started early March, but no one knows when it will stop
On March 12, the outplacement reported that U.S. companies announced 633 layoffs related to the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has far escalated since that figure was reported, with at least 40 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted policies to close nonessential businesses, according to ABC News.
The guidelines for essential versus nonessential businesses varies, but generally, spaces like museums, movie theaters, gyms, daycares, music venues and malls, spas, nail salons, and hair salons have been required to close.
Bars and restaurants are still allowed to offer take-out or delivery, meaning many restaurant staff members around the country are going without pay right now. The National Restaurant Association estimates that between 5 to 7 million restaurant workers will lose their jobs in the next three months. The association also reports that early economic forecasts reveal the industry will see at least a $225 billion loss.
Industries hit hard, like the restaurant industry, have already begun to layoff workers.
Here are a list of 14 major companies around the country that have already announced layoffs or furloughs:
- Marriott International
- Norwegian Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Pebblebrook Hotel Trust
- Union Square Hospitality Group
- New York’s Metropolitan Opera
- Cirque du Soleil
- Air Canada
- General Electric
- Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Bluemercury