First, the layoffs came for the restaurant, retail, hotel and tourism workers — the ones on the front lines of nationwide stay-at-home orders meant to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading. Now, experts say the once immune white-collar positions that have so far been able to weather the storm by working from home could be
First, the layoffs came for the restaurant, retail, hotel and tourism workers — the ones on the front lines of nationwide stay-at-home orders meant to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading.
Now, experts say the once immune white-collar positions that have so far been able to weather the storm by working from home could be at risk in a second round of layoffs, as virus cases surge again almost eight months into the global health crisis while demand is still far from its pre-pandemic levels.
That picture isn’t looking any better with economic momentum slowing from its earlier pace in the summer and lawmakers remaining far apart in negotiations over the next round of fiscal relief.
“Many industries are facing a reckoning,” says Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecruiter. “This is a critical time when companies are sort of looking back on 2020 and surveying the damage and planning accordingly for the new year — and it’s increasingly clear this pandemic is not going away very quickly, so employment has to give in some places.”
Here’s who could be most at risk in a second wave of coronavirus pandemic-induced layoffs and how to prepare your wallet.
Second round of layoffs: Who’s most at risk for job loss?
Economists say the second wave of layoffs risks repeating old stories and creating new ones.
Another round similar to what Americans witnessed back in March could be poised to wreak havoc on the labor market, as the colder winter months weigh on sales and cause an uptick in the virus — what’s known to cause apprehension among the economy’s consumer powerhouse even without an official lockdown. That means some Americans who were laid off once could potentially face job loss again.
Separately, a prolonged slump in the economy risks spilling over into the higher-paying industries first left mostly untouched. Businesses might be inclined to let go of employees as revenues plummet, even though those individuals are working from home. Already, a wave of white-collar layoffs across firms including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Charles Schwab, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Salesforce and Allstate has hit the market.
“What we’re seeing is a continuation of that first wave of layoffs that never really stopped,” Pollak says. “Just in the past two weeks, we’ve had mass layoffs announced at banks and law firms, sports teams, paper mills, major event venues, and aerospace companies. That’s entirely to be expected when you look at the level of economic volatility occurring right now.”
1. Restaurant and retail positions still hang in the balance with path of virus, economy uncertain
The U.S. economy lost some 15 percent of all jobs between February and April, a level as high as 22.2 million. Bearing the brunt of the pain were the lower-paying, blue-collar hospitality and service sector workers subject to most of the lockdowns. A Federal…