Coronavirus pandemic: Mass layoffs hit travel and food-related industries, healthcare employees safe
As the number of global COVID-19 cases increases, the outbreak is taking a massive toll on the global economy. Before the outbreak, the unemployment rate in the United States was recorded to be at its lowest in 50 years at 3.5%. Economists are now foreseeing a global recession as states take new measures to contain the spread of the infection.
Among the industries expected to be impacted most by self-isolation and other measures include bakeries, the travel sector, ports, gig workers, and entry-level employees. Organizations have also announced a hiring freeze as they take measures to protect themselves.
Airlines around the world have announced planned or potential layoffs in the coming days. Norwegian Air announced that it would temporarily lay off up to 50% of its workforce as 40% of Norwegian’s long-haul fleet and 25% of its short-haul fleet will be grounded until May due to the pandemic.
The head of British Airways, Alex Cruz in a memo sent to employees titled 'The Survival of British Airways' said that layoffs could be "short term, perhaps long term." According to Reuters. Scandinavian Airlines could temporarily cut up to 90% of its workforce as well.
While American carriers have not announced any layoffs so far, Delta Airlines and American Airlines have announced cutting flights following President Donald Trump's travel ban resulting in banning flights from Europe and later the United Kingdom. However, coronavirus-related layoffs seem likely in the long run.
Fifty employees of the South By Southwest (SXSW) -- the music and culture festival -- were let go, after this year's edition of the festival was canceled over fears of the pandemic. Christie Lights, an Orlando, Florida, based stage lighting company, laid off 100 of its employees. The Port of Los Angeles fired 145 drivers after ships from China stopped arriving.
HMSHost, a Seattle, Washington, global restaurant-services provider also announced it would lay off 200 people. Travel agencies in Los Angeles, California, along with Atlanta, Georgia, had to let employees go as the pandemic affected the industry. Similarly, MGM Resorts announced in a company-wide letter that several employees had tested positive for COVID-19 and that furloughs and layoffs were expected to begin next week.
However, the manufacturing and construction industries are unlikely to announce layoffs in the near future and will instead be banking on people taking preventative measures in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.
“We will definitely see an effect on jobs from the coronavirus, and it could be pretty large in leisure and hospitality,” said Julia Pollak, a labor economist at ZipRecruiter told the Washington Post. “The first thing we’ll see is a reduction in hours. We hear many reports of employers canceling staff everywhere except in health care.”