A record number of Americans are losing their jobs — but Amazon, Walmart, Ace Hardware and others are hiring to fill 474,000 openings amid coronavirus demand
Many employees in the U.S. are holding their breath, waiting to see if their jobs will be the next to disappear as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down entire sectors of the U.S. economy. At the same time, hiring is ramping up in some industries.
Some 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week –– the highest ever increase in weekly jobless claims. As more Americans practice social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, layoffs are hitting sectors that rely on foot traffic, such as brick-and-mortar retail, hospitality, and restaurants and bars.
On top of which, the U.S. lost some 701,000 jobs in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. The government added 17,000 U.S. Census workers, partly scaling back the decline in employment.
But the good news is that layoffs aren’t happening across the board. In fact, a wave of unprecedented demand in certain sectors is sending some employers on hiring sprees.
said last month it plans to hire 150,000 new workers. The retailer also said it would give full-time employees who are paid hourly a bonus of $300 each, and part-time hourly employees a bonus of $150 on April 2, MarketWatch reported. The Walmart jobs will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time, the company said.
Since the company’s March 19 announcement, Walmart has hired approximately 5,000 new associates each day, a spokeswoman told MarketWatch.
The openings are across the U.S. in fulfillment centers, transportation operations, Amazon Go Stores, Whole Foods stores, and in deliveries. “While most of the hires will stay with the company through at least April, we do anticipate there will be opportunities to stay with Amazon in a longer temporary or permanent role,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.
The company said they have already managed to hire 80,000 people for those roles as of April 2.
Beyond Amazon and Walmart, here are the companies and sectors that are ramping up hiring:
Food and convenience stores
As Americans flock to grocery stores to maintain their “pandemic pantries,” shelves are being stripped clean. In order to restock them in a timely manner grocery chains including Albertsons Cos., Kroger
and Trader Joe’s have either increased hiring or offered bonuses to employees.
Some 5,300 Ace Hardware stores have remained open across the country. In response to heightened demand for home supplies, the retailer-owned hardware cooperative said on Friday that they are looking to hire 30,000 new full-time, part-time and seasonal workers.
stores have also remained open across the country to ensure customers have access to essential appliances like refrigerators and freezers in addition to cleaning products. The company announced last week they are looking to fill 30,000 permanent and temporary job openings at distribution centers and in-stores.
7-Eleven, an international convenience chain with more than 70,000 stores, said last month it will be hiring as many as 20,000 store employees.
“This will provide job opportunities and ensure 7-Eleven stores remain clean and in-stock with the goods our customers need during this critical time,” said 7-Eleven president and CEO, Joe DePinto. The company anticipates that the majority of the new hires will be used to fulfill orders on 7NOW, an on-demand delivery app.
Albertsons Cos., a national grocery chain which owns Safeway and Acme, “is immediately hiring 30,000 new associates,” the company announced last week.
(Lowe’s, 7-Eleven and Albertsons all did not respond to a request for comment on how many of those positions have since be filled).
Kroger is hiring 20,000 new associates nationwide across retail stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers, the company said last week. Last month, Kroger announced plans to hire 10,000 new workers, but ended up hiring a total of 23,500 workers, Kristal Howard, a Kroger spokeswoman said on Friday. Kroger’s average hourly wage is $15 an hour, she said.
Over the past two weeks, Kroger has hired 30,600 new employees, Howard told MarketWatch.
Trader Joe’s is paying bonuses to store employees amid an “unprecedented increase” in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic, Business Insider reported. The company did not respond to request for comment on whether they are also increasing hiring and how much they are paying employees in bonuses.
Because more consumers are shopping online and having food delivered to them there is a need for more drivers and remote workers to coordinate delivery logistics, Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao said.
That sector has grown the fastest over the past month, Zhao said, according to Glassdoor hiring data. Most of the job openings are for truck and delivery drivers as well as warehouse workers, he said.
While these types of jobs may be less appealing to people who are trying to limit face-to-face contact with others, there are also a variety of supply chain analysis jobs and delivery dispatch jobs that can be done remotely.
“Obviously there is high demand in health care,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont, a New York-based fixed income securities brokerage firm, said. “But that isn’t something anyone off the street can do.” Stanley predicts restaurant workers will take on delivery roles.
plans to add 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary workers, the company said. It has decided to tap directly into its customers’ workforces by taking on furloughed workers from hotel chains. The company recently waived home delivery fees for prescriptions and said it is looking to hire more drivers.
The company has hired 5,000 people, Joe Goode, a CVS spokesman, said. “Many of these roles are at the retail level and in our distribution centers,” he added.
Popular pizza chains in the U.S. are also experiencing a spike in demand as many restaurants and quick-service chains have shifted to takeout, delivery, drive-thru and pick-up only.
Pizza Hut is looking to fill 30,000 permanent job openings, Yum Brands Inc.
Hungry Howie’s, a Detroit-based pizza chain with 550 locations in 21 states, has 2,000 permanent delivery driver openings, the company said last month. Drivers can make up to $15 an hour, a company spokeswoman told MarketWatch.
Hangouts, high-speed reliable internet is an absolute must.
Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic, a Northern California-based internet and telecommunications provider serving more than 100,000 customers, said his company has experienced a record surge in new customers. To meet the increased demand, he will likely be hiring an additional 15 employees a month to join his team of 520 employees, he said.
“With so many folks engaging in social distancing and distance learning, unlike many industries we are busier than ever before,” Jasper said. Employees of Sonic, like other telecommunication companies, are allowed to travel freely through regions that have shelter-in-place orders because their services are deemed essential, especial for emergency communication purposes, Jasper said.
Increased demand in the U.S. for respiratory equipment such as ventilators could cause a surge in hiring in manufacturing.
“At some point certain manufacturers will want to increase hiring so that they can make more ventilators,” said Stanley of Amherst Pierpont. “It’s almost like a wartime operation,” he added. In addition to hospital beds and health professionals, there may be a ventilator shortage. The breathing machines are critical to saving the lives of patients with severe coronaviruses cases.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.