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If you have access to the internet or even books, the coronavirus quarantine is a good time to learn new skills. It is frustrating and heartbreaking to lose your job, but all you can do now is collect your unemployment benefits and figure out what would be the next best move for your life. Like it or not, jobs of the 21st century and onward will demand computer literacy. We will list out some of the computer skills for jobs of the future.

Why Learn Computer Skills 

Everything is moving towards computerization. From the capital markets to healthcare database management, from teaching to food and accommodation business inventories, computers are everywhere. Orders and administration, sales, legal teams, etc. everyone is onboard the internet revolution. There are lesser and lesser jobs that don’t demand computer skills.

Computer programs can revolutionize your personal life as much as it has changed businesses. You can use simple software and programs to manage your expenses, taxes and even handle your own investments. Cloud-based storage solutions can help you to maintain those pesky bills and receipts permanently with no fear of losing track of them.

There are a whole lot of upcoming fields in computer science which even universities are just now starting to offer courses in. The best way to learn them actually happens to be through online courses by professional organizations. Many people have managed to make lucrative careers by self-learning these skills.

Skills List

Many companies spend time and money training new recruits on these skills. Imagine the edge you will have by going in with them already in your repertoire. Although some of the jobs requiring these skills may prefer those with degrees, there are many who have attained success by acquiring them by self-learning.

Python

Python, the programming language has three core applications:

  • Data Science — including machine learning, data analysis, and data visualization
  • Scripting
  • Web Development

The above fields are larger domains facilitated by the knowledge of programming languages. Not only do you get jobs by knowing these skills, but you can also start your own web-based businesses.

Harvard University is offering a free online course teaching the basics of python.

Machine Learning

This field is a subset of artificial intelligence. It is quite complex to learn, but successfully doing so can launch you into a great career, precisely because it is still a relatively rare skill.

It now powers many of the modern-day services like streaming platforms, e-commerce sites, media players etc. where data is quickly sorted through to determine what you might like.

A comprehensive machine learning program will also impart allied skills such as statistics.

A good resource to explore this skill is Coursera, where you can audit courses for free.

Power BI

While not strictly connecting to computing, this tool required by business analysts can make you a great fit for business development roles. You can learn PowerBI on Youtube as well as LinkedIn Premium

Google Office Tools

Google is providing stiff competition to Microsoft with its suite of spreadsheets, presentations, etc. software. Acquiring these skills provides you with an entry point to many promising careers. Its much quicker to learn than AI, ML or any such broader field.

UI/UX Design

These are very lucrative skills nowadays and there is a lot of demand for freelancers as well. Developing a portfolio of work really helps. There are numerous paid and free resources to learn from, but paid resources might be better if they include a capstone project. Coursera has some design courses you can audit for free.

Data Visualization 

This career goal is a good idea for those who are artistically oriented. It involves transforming data into a visually appealing form. EdX has a free course that you can also get a certificate for by paying extra.

 

There are many other advanced courses you can opt for in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence if you already have some knowledge of computer science. 

Though the world looks hopeless when you have been laid off, it might just take you in a direction you never thought of. Make sure to collect your unemployment benefits and try your best to stay positive. The government is charting up plans to slowly restart the economy so, we will see a future outline soon.

The coronavirus quarantine is one of the most worrisome times in modern American history. Not only do we all have to contend with a virus that kills people but also with the largest global economic slowdown where we cannot even work if jobs were aplenty. The longer the lockdowns continue the harder it is becoming to visualize what the future might look like. We don’t know how long it will take for the massive numbers of unemployed people to find jobs again.

So the question remains as to what can we do to mitigate stress in these uncertain times? How can we increase our chances of getting employed? One excellent option is to use the time and resources made available to upskill during this quarantine period for better job prospects.

Several websites and organizations are giving free access to online courses during the pandemic. This is of great help to people who are in or were thinking of entering a new domain. It also helps you learn skills that make you a better fit for jobs with good growth prospects. 

Free/Affordable Courses Available Now

We have compiled a list of some free or low priced courses that also have a good chance of being recognized and accepted by employers. You can use them to upskill or just gain an idea of whether a career would suit you before making a plunge with a more expensive professional qualification.

Harvard EdX Courses

Harvard is offering 64 of its courses for free, during the quarantine period. Their catalog includes the following courses offering very relevant skill training:

  • Game Development
  • Mobile App Development
  • Python & Javascript Web Development
  • Computer skills for lawyers
  • Nonprofit Financial Stewardship
  • Data Science
  • Introductory Artificial Intelligence
  • Contract Law
  • Entrepreneurship

Coursera

Coursera online courses, unfortunately, require payment to obtain a recognized certificate, but one can audit their courses for free. There are several companies though that are more concerned with people possessing requisite skills than paper degrees. They have numerous courses from the faculty of extremely reputed universities including The Wharton School, UPenn etc. They even offer curated programs leading to an online Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

A few courses are freely available to deal with COVID-19.

The courses that are quite in demand nowadays are:

  • Business Analytics & Development
  • Finance
  • Software Development and Web Development
  • Health Informatics
  • Cloud Computing
  • AI applications

Free YouTube Videos

There are numerous free resources available on YouTube to learn high-demand skills such as marketing, search engine optimization, analytics, etc. Many leading companies also provide free professional development course snippets.

Udemy

The platform offers free and paid courses in diverse fields from leading professionals who act as mentors. There are courses in marketing, finance, photography, social media marketing etc.

You can also consider developing soft skills in communication, negotiation, statistical skills etc. These skills are foundational to any professional success and are often transferable when you attempt to switch careers.

 

This can be a taxing time especially if you have lost your job. While you apply for unemployment benefits, keep yourself occupied by indulging in some self-care and self-improvement. Try not to think about outcomes you cannot control.

 

We have previously taken a look at the states with the largest number of UI claims with regard to their progress in with the new unemployment insurance systems. Since then, there have been reports of a lot more people starting to receive their weekly entitlements in those states. But some states have not yet started implementing the new UI benefits rules.

In this post, we will take a look at the states that seem to be having the worst time coping with CARES Act implementation and take a look at the most common complaints people have about them.  

Common Problems Faced By All States

The US never before faced such a large volume of unemployment claims with over 15 million people filing. Many states had in fact cut back their unemployment compensation systems due to the good economic growth and historic lows in unemployment rates. They are thus swamped and experiencing the following:

  • Servers overloaded with requests
  • Jammed phone lines
  • Staff shortage

The Coronavirus Economic Security Act took care of the state unemployment trust fund insolvency by giving agreeable states, funds for the Pandemic Unemployment programs. Now let’s look at the states whose citizens are having the roughest time.

Florida

This state has been facing flak for its slow response in handling the large number of UI claims. Official data shows more than 470,000 filings so far, but the number is an underestimate as numerous people haven’t even been able to open an account or reach out to a worker over the phone. Florida has contracted out technological upgrades and hired call centers but thousands of people report being unable to access the website.

Many who were able to file claims are frustrated at being unable to see their determination status or have no idea when they will receive benefit payments. Florida’s economy is in worse shape than other states due to its reliance on tourism which is unlikely to resume even after lockdown ends. The state had also reduced benefits and payment weeks over the years.

Ohio

Ohio’s Lt Governor Jon Husted said that the state needs to hurry up with topping up the state unemployment trust funds because it will be unable to handle the volume of claims at this moment. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has declared that people may start getting UI benefits tentatively from next week. It may be early May by the time the self-employed and part-time workers and others previously ineligible for unemployment compensation, may be able to have claims successfully processed.

The state website has been outdated for years and is thus unable to handle the influx of people. The state is attempting to upgrade it, but more effort is needed.

Though Ohio has been hiring staff and getting deputed employees they have insufficient training resources. This will put many people with barely any savings in great inconvenience.

Washington

This is another state lagging behind on unemployment claims processing. Many people newly eligible for UI benefits such as the self-employed, those furloughed or not receiving pay due to COVID-19 etc. Even people who successfully filed benefits in mid-March have reported not receiving payments etc.

Washington like other states is scrambling to hire people to man the call centers. They need to upgrade the system which is reportedly unable to handle the new calculations due to the changs from the CARES Act. The date for expanding UI officially through the CARES Act has been set at Apr 18th.

The state has at least passed a ban on eviction, bringing welcome relief to people out of jobs. 

Other States Having Almost Identical Problems

  • Virginia– Not executed the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program yet. It has missed two promised deadlines of Apr 7th to announce details and Apr 10th to start enrolling eligible workers to PUA
  • Oregon– System underwent a glitch that may not have been fully fixed as people are asked by it to restart their claims process. The state has not legally waived waiting week requirement yet.
  • Missouri– The state has not indicated a timeline yet for when PUA payments could start going out, as it remains swamped by UI applications. 
  • Maine– $600 payments are yet to be started. The governor has passed orders to restrict evictions.

 

Some states are in talks over the limited reopening of a few economic sectors and companies. This might reduce the unemployment situation marginally, but is going to be of limited use. Many people are employed in accommodation and food services as well as manufacturing, which provides the purchasing power to fuel the spending in the country. The states will need to speed up on implementing UI benefits.

For those lucky enough to still be employed, the Coronavirus pandemic launched the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment (WFH) as employers everywhere were forced to shutter offices and plants by government orders. Working from home has allowed many companies to remain operational during his difficult time which is causing massive layoffs across sectors such as entertainment & recreation, food services, even healthcare, etc.
People have various reactions to this new normal. Let’s look at the various advantages and drawbacks of remote work as we wait to see if it becomes a larger part of the normal economy. 

How Work-From-Home Was Viewed

Remote working has grown by volume over the last decade and has even proven lucrative for certain freelancers and contract workers. Once a preferred mode of work for stay-at-home parents, it is now an option given even to full-time employees of big organizations, a few times a month.

Remote working had its fair share of detractors once. It was seen as unsuitable for more than a few employees, due to the difficulties in communication and coordination. Employers also had the impression that employees were less productive when not in the office and surrounded by co-workers. 

There is also the difficulty in executing remote work when the tasks require tremendous communication. Nuanced, non-verbal cues are extremely important especially when we consider operations such as sales and legal discussions.

Advantages of Work-From-Home Jobs

Remote work has spurred unprecedented revenue growth for companies like Zoom which provide teleconference tools. Many others including the famous Google Services have scrambled to take advantage of the opportunity by quickly upgrading their offerings. 

Consequently, these happen to be some of the few types of organizations that are still hiring.

A famous study by Stanford University on a Chinese company called Ctrip yielded huge positives in favor of remote work in 2015. The firm saw a 13% jump in productivity and a 50% rise in employee retention rates when 1000 workers were sent to work from home. The company soon adopted a remote working policy for nearly all teams.

Remote work has long proved a blessing to prospective parents, giving women requiring longer maternity healing a chance to remain in the workforce. By the same logic, it has also been helpful to those bound at home due to cultural restrictions as well to some people with disabilities.

For employers, the possibility of hiring skilled workers across the world without bearing relocation costs is a very attractive prospect. Therefore, there are now many upcoming job portals focusing on connecting employers to freelance and remote workers. Companies can potentially save on office space, promoting the concept of open and hot desks.

Similarly, it gives employees the flexibility to choose their bosses. Remote work also helps in reducing productivity loss due to long commutes, office politics, personality incompatibilities, etc. It may also make rewards and appraisals fairer by basing them on the accomplishment of outcomes rather than time spent or politics.

Those companies that have been able to transition to remote work are largely in the software services industry, media content creation and other such sectors where there is no tangible product creation. However, this is a result of the nature of the economic shutdown imposed by the pandemic. 

Drawbacks Of Remote Work

Working from home is obviously not possible for jobs that involve manual labor, face-to-face consumer-grievance redressal, delivery services, etc. Physical distancing requirements have forced even those organizations to close down that could have managed with transitioning a percentage of the workforce to remote work. 

The manufacturing sector cannot transition most of its workforce to remote roles. This is also the case with defense and aerospace companies which have confidentiality requirements and need employees on-site.

The productivity of a work from home employee depends largely upon the efficiency of communication tools adopted by their employers. Without hi-speed internet and investment in scalable technologies, the work from home experiment can challenge patience at the least and retard work at the most.

The Ctrip experiment was successful in part due to the employees having uninterrupted working hours. This is not a possibility now due to the closure of schools. Even then many employees reported a desire to commute to work after a few months. Working from home can breed social isolation and negatively impact mental health without a strong social support circle.

 

The immediate aftermath of COVID-19 will consist of some paranoia over hygiene and many employees may want to work from home for longer, when possible. But it is likely that many companies will expand remote working roles and profiles in the future. People can expect more work-from-home days in a month. The world’s biggest work-from-home experiment will have lasting changes.

All this comes however after the economy goes back to normal and people are able to return to their regular jobs. If you have been furloughed or laid off, apply for unemployment benefits as quickly as possible.

As a sector dominated by gig workers and contractors, unemployment in arts,  entertainment and recreation sector has been drastic, next only to the accommodation and food services sector in scale. Sub-sectors include performing arts, museums, theatres,  amusement parks, gambling arcades, stage shows, fitness centers, spectator sports, etc. The movie industry also comes under this sector.

Many states have declared shutdowns affecting footfall to these venues while they have voluntarily closed down in many places to avoid being a hotspot.  We shall take a brief look at this sector to understand the prospects with coronavirus and what former employees can expect in the near future.

Overview Of Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

This sector employed about 2,481,500 people in 2019 and 2.46 million people in March 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The current unemployment rate is 8.6% but it has been historically at an average of 4.6% over the past year.

The top occupations in this sector are fitness trainers and instructors, entertainment attendants and other workers as well as janitorial staff. The largest number of employees are amusement and recreation attendants. Employees earn an average hourly wage of $15.87. Many are employed and paid on an hourly basis in this sector.

There is a wide disparity in the wages of on-screen personas vs behind-the-screen staff in the case of the film industry. The working hours’ number a minimum of 24 per week on average. 

The entire market was valued at approximately $336 billion.

COVID-19: Unemployment In Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Most businesses in this sector are deemed non-essential and have been closed down by government orders. This sector will thus face a huge decline in revenues in this second quarter of 2020 (provided the coronavirus recedes after that). These businesses have furloughed low-wage employees and imposed pay cuts upon more skilled workers.

In Colorado, the maximum number of layoffs is in Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation. Los Angeles has not released data yet, but as the home of Hollywood and performing arts, many layoffs will be from this sector.

Entertainment industry representatives self-report that at least a 100,000 workers living paycheck to paycheck are out of work. With the slow progress of state labor departments in tackling the massive numbers of UI claims, these workers are in dire straits.

Museums and auction houses across the US are laying off workers. These institutions had requested the government for aid through the CARES Act. Some institutions like the Indianapolis Contemporary are closing down permanently.

How To Deal With The Present

This sector has faced almost a stoppage in job creation. There are a few job openings at gaming companies and media creation houses like Netflix. But the vast majority of work cannot resume till sports centers, stage shows, entertainment centers, etc. are allowed to open again.

In the meanwhile, those who are unemployed should file for UI benefits immediately. One can also look forward to the direct economic payment from the US government. 

There are several voluntary community interventions to help those who find themselves out of work:

  • Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund for theatrical exhibition employees 
  • #PayUpHollywood has raised money through a GoFundMe campaign to support production assistants
  • Writers Guild of America has waived COVID-19 testing costs

Future Prospects

The situation in the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation may be quite dire. Even when the country starts working normally again, people will not have the money to spend in these places. The unemployment may go on longer than for other sectors. These venues may also remain closed for longer than other places if the coronavirus spread lasts longer than expected. 

Many theatre groups and museums have been struggling financially for years and coronavirus has struck them a death blow. Such ex-employees will need new jobs. Some of the better off cultural centers may be able to survive with just salary freezes. This sector will not create jobs for a long time.

On the bright side entertainment industry workers in California have already started receiving benefits. As the teething troubles get slowly sorted, more people will be able to successfully file UI claims.

Its been a while since unemployment benefits were extended to cover a wider range of unemployed people. So far some states have been quick to keep their labor websites updated with the progress while others are reportedly slow on keeping UI applicants informed. In this article, we shall survey the points of progress the five states with the largest numbers of UI claims are at. You will know when you can expect to hear from your unemployment office if you are worried about the radio silence.

States With The Largest Number Of UI Claims

Over 6 million unemployment insurance claims were filed over last week alone, the record highest number in US history. The states have been overburdened due to a shortage of staff, ill-equipped servers (to handle the volume of claimants logging in) and of course, state trust funds.

As many states had downsized their UI systems over the years, they have been scrambling to hire/depute employees to process the UI claims and sign agreements with the US Dept of Labor to get the CARES Act funds. Let’s take a look at the status of five states with the highest number of UI claims.

California

This state saw over 900,000 claims filed just last week. While every state on this list is struggling to process the huge surge in UI claims, California is particularly in need of more resources and fast. 

Governor Gavin Newsom directed that unemployment phone line timings be extended. So now people can call from 8 am-5 pm whereas previously, calls would not be taken after 12 noon. Unfortunately, the extended hours alone won’t help because many people report being put on hold and not getting hold pf a representative even after the call gets through.

The California Employment Development Department has not yet made guidelines clear for claim filing by independent contractors and gig workers. On the bright side, the state labor website stays up-to-date.

Pennsylvania

This state has had insured unemployment of more than 500,000 along with over 283,000 UI claims just last week. Pennsylvanians are fortunate to have better UI benefits than many other states even without the additional payout provided by the Families First and CARES Acts. 

Pennsylvania claims to have already begun sending unemployment payments. However, the state has not significantly raised the capacity to take calls and respond to email volume, at this time of writing.

The state has tentatively announced that a separate platform to streamline the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims will be developed in 2 weeks.

New York

With insured unemployment of 715,750 till March 28 and 345,246 claims filed last week, the state of New York has among the most well-updated sites. The state has been experiencing the same issues with technical capacities and staff shortage but it has kept people informed about the work in progress on different measures being taken.

New York has been quick to upgrade its online UI application system since people reported calls dropping midway when they even got through. The state has roped in new staffers and call centers. They have also extended phone line hours which are now 8 am-7:30 pm.

It has already begun sending out the $600 assistance as part of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Georgia 

This state saw 388,175 claims filed just this week and a similar number last week. Georgia is ahead of Penn State with an even shorter period of one week announced tentatively for PUA payments to go out.

The Georgia Department of Labor has announced that they are in the process of improving the UI claims process with more questions being added to identify eligible applicants. To help contractors and gig workers they are likely to use different wage criteria from the normal system.

The state has announced that payments will be backdated to ensure that people don’t lose benefit payments due to the delays in executing the program.

A few workers have reported receiving benefits cards but with the money that should have been there, not on them. The phone lines continue to be jammed despite the state hiring call centers.

Michigan

Michigan is another top state in terms of UI claim filed numbering at 384,844 last week alone. The state has enabled contractors, gig workers, etc. to start filing unemployment claims and extended phone line hours. But the website crashes frequently.

On the bright side, Michigan is among the earliest states to actually start sending the benefits. Most states including Michigan have recommended that applicants file claims as per the following schedule:

Last names beginning with letters A-L: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.

Last names beginning with letters M-Z: Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.

Whoever misses filing on the above days, can do so on Saturdays.

 

With states finally gearing up to handle the large payment volumes, people can expect to start receiving benefits by mid-April. There are many teething troubles yet to be fixed such as monetary determination letters showing zero benefits owed due to improper wage calculations. Most states are hiring workers to process additional claims and expanding technical capabilities.

Also heartening to see are funding campaigns and community interventions to support the people laid-off.

 

The global economic shutdown following the Coronavirus pandemic began with a lot of speculation and fear over the prospective job losses. Three weeks on we have a clearer picture of what is happening and what the future will need in terms of bouncing back from the economic impact. We will take a brief look at how unemployment due to coronavirus is faring and what the likely future holds.

Unemployment Due To Coronavirus At The Moment

The coronavirus pandemic comes after months of job gains and good economic progress. In January alone nonfarm payroll employment rose by 225,000 and similar numbers were seen in February as well. 

But now nearly 700,000 jobs previously added, have been wiped out by the global slowdown and precautions being taken in the US. As of now only 41 US states have issued lockdown orders, so more claim numbers can be expected if this situation worsens and all states adopt lockdowns.

unemployment claims in march

Over 16 million unemployment claims were filed in the last 3 weeks, though not all of them are by people who have officially lost a job. The government has relaxed UI rules to accommodate those having reduced or no pay and the self-employed. 

The last time in recent history that such huge job losses occurred was from 2008-10, when over 8 million jobs were lost, during the Global Financial Crisis. But this present scenario shows US history’s fastest job losses. 

The largest contributors to unemployment vary across states, but the following sectors have seen the biggest losses:

  1. Accommodation and Food Services
  2. Construction
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Arts and Entertainment

Retail Trade has had a mixed response with some establishments doing well due to their supply of essential goods.

Coronavirus Deaths And Unemployment

The COVID-19 was not initially seen as a terrifying disease but that soon changed as the mortality grew, all over the world. Quite a few senators have ended up sick, though those who can afford good healthcare have made a recovery.

This is what’s causing the fears that have spurred global shutdowns. Most people have family and friends who would be susceptible to the disease. New York alone has already seen more than 7000 deaths.

Even without shutdowns, a recession-like situation was bound to happen, as people stay home to avoid spreading the virus. Once certain economic sectors begin to collapse, they take others down due to the interconnected nature of the economy. No job is truly recession-proof. 

Lessons from Spanish flu: Disease and Unemployment

Coronavirus is not the world’s first pandemic. The last time a disease spread as wide, was the Spanish flu. It ravaged the world for more than a year from 1918-20 and killed off a quarter of the world’s population, while it was still reeling from World War I.

Although the shutdowns may cause some shocks and pain now, the Spanish flu era shows that cities that made earlier and aggressive preventive interventions had a quicker return rate to normal economic activity. Disease always reduces a population’s productivity, hence striving to maintain it provides a more capable population.

What The Future Entails

Some economists think that the Coronavirus pandemic could go away with tremendous job gains, once the labor market fully revives. They liken it to the 1981-82 recession when the short-term recession caused short term layoffs but workers were later rehired.

Others are not so optimistic. It’s likely that Americans would be afraid of future infections following this pandemic and would start saving, especially if a vaccine is slow to develop. They may not frequent restaurants to the pre-coronavirus extents or shop as much, keeping demand suppressed. 

Under such situations, a string of bank loan defaults are likely and may push economic recovery lower. Lenders will not have the confidence to support economic growth.

 

Wait and watch is the only approach we can take during these hard times. The best option for all of us is to follow the physical and social distancing measures and support the country in fighting this pandemic. Fortunately, the government is taking care of Americans in the short run with stimulus checks and UI benefits. Be sure to file yours if you stop receiving pay.

 

Retail Trade is a significant sector in the modern economy. It employs a large number of people across various verticals from food to fashion. The market has players as big as Amazon to small neighborhood artisanal stores. You’d expect retail trade to be hit badly by the coronavirus, but there is a mixed record. What is the unemployment in retail trade looking like?

Retail Trading consists of establishments that sell merchandise to retail consumers without themselves altering the products. Even though some retailers are backed by production houses, for the purposes of understanding the sector, that is disregarded for our purposes. Retail Trade also includes non-store retailers like infomercials or catalog retailers.

Overview Of Retail Trade Sector

The Bureau of Labor Statistics informs that the sector employed 16.8 million people in 2018. It showed an unemployment rate of about 7% over the last two quarters. 

The top occupations in this sector are Sales Workers, Supervisors, and Cashiers. Salespersons constitute the largest group of employees. Employees may be paid an average of $20 a week and work for an average of 30 hours a week.

Impact Of COVID-19 On Unemployment In Retail Trade

While not the biggest impact, which the food services sector felt, retail trade has also been hit badly except a few players.

Personal Care stores and health stores have closed down, laying off employees as have sporting goods stores and clothing stores. Nordstrom and other clothing retailers have furloughed employees. Fast fashion brands like H&M were already under fire even before the pandemic and the lockdowns have affected them all.

Electronics Retailers including Apple are experiencing a huge demand drop. With so many unemployment claims filed people have no money to spare. Bookstores and hobby/crafting stores are facing the same problem.

Some big retailers like Amazon, Gap, TJ Maxx, and Kohl’s have been slow to close their stores and have been reported to not take adequate precautions to protect workers.  

Types Of Jobs Still Available

This is where the mixed news comes in. Supermarkets and grocery stores are doing alright during this period. Sales of food and cleaning supplies are at an all-time high and shops selling them, including pharmacies are open. Many of them are hiring sales workers and shelf stockers.

Although Amazon is famed for its eCommerce, it does have some offline ventures like its Go Stores. Them as well as companies like Whole Foods, Target and Walmart are actually hiring workers to cope with the increased orders.

Future Projections

The retail sector’s death has been predicted many times over the years, but it has held on well. In the short term, clothing and shoe retailers are likely to see the biggest losses until the economy equilibrates.

Though online shopping is rising in popularity, the in-store experience and tangibility offered by offline retail stores are strong. Grocery and food marts will continue to provide a convenient pick-up option over unseen produce that ordering them online brings.

It is likely that players like Walmart and Target will not have as many sales once the economy reopens. This may result in them laying off the many workers they are hiring now.

All this hits back at manufacturing sectors since orders get canceled when there is lowered demand, creating a vicious cycle of people not having enough money to buy from these establishments and further dropping demand. The government is attempting to keep up some spending by providing UI benefits and direct payments.

 

If you are a retail worker with uncertainty looming over you such as a pay cut or a furlough, then make sure you can file an unemployment claim right away. Some companies may have to provide paid leave so avail that if you or a family member needs to self-isolate.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act mandated paid sick leave to protect workers suffering from COVID-19 or with family laid up due to the spreading pandemic. If you cannot avail paid sick leave, be sure to apply for unemployment compensation.

Several states are now passing executive actions to operationalize the CARES act and the FFCR Act. We will outline the intricacies of making sure you get your paid sick leave. You are guaranteed job protection while on them.

Paid Sick Leave For Coronavirus Orders

The paid leave benefits are not available to those employees who can work remotely. They can only be availed under the following circumstances:

  • You contract COVID-19 or are ordered to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider.
  • You have to care for a family member who contracted COVID-19.
  • If your child is ordered into quarantine by any govt-authorized health body.

Self Quarantine

Small Employers

They are the ones with 10 or fewer employees and a net annual business income of less than $1 million. There is no mandatory paid sick leave.

Employers making more than $1 million, have to provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave. Once that is up, you can avail of Paid Family Leave. This will give you benefits of up to 60% of your wages subject to a maximum of $840.70 per week in New York. 

Paid Sick Leave benefits can be availed for 6 weeks in many states, but California has extended it to 8 weeks. New York has been rolling them out in a phased manner, and applicants in 2020 can get 10 weeks. The same goes for Iowa. Washington has not included mere self-isolation as a qualifying circumstance.

Visit your state’s website for more information. You may be able to get disability benefits after exhausting the Paid Family leave. The maximum amount you can avail there is $2,043.92 in New York.

Medium Employers

Their businesses earn over $1 million and they have 11-99 employees. They have to provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave for coronavirus.

The rest of the conditions are the same. 

The benefits are calculated based on your base period wages.

Large Employers

Those having more than 100 employees are classed as large employers. They must give at least 14 days of paid leave.

When Can You Get Paid Family Leave For Your Child? 

If your child has been ordered a quarantine due to the coronavirus then you can avail family leaves for its care. You have to fulfill the following conditions:

  • Full-time employee (20 hours or more of work per week) working for over 26 weeks with the employer.
  • Part-time employee (20 hours or less of work per week) working for over 175 days with the employer.

New York is only considering the 8 weeks prior to your application for calculating Paid Family Leave which can be a maximum of $840.70. Your benefits will equal 60% of your average weekly wage.

Caring For Family With Coronavirus

You will get Paid Family Leave if one of the following fall sick with COVID-19:

  • Domestic Partner/Spouse
  • Children- Own or legal custody
  • Parent/stepparent
  • Grandparent
  • Parent-in-law
  • Grandchild

Certification from a medical professional will be necessary. You will have to submit it along with the other forms.

Forms Needed

In New York, the following forms are required:

  • Request for Paid Family Leave (Form PFL-1)
  • Release of Personal Health Information Under the Paid Family Leave Law (Form PFL-3)
  • Health Care Provider Certification for Care Of Family Member with Serious Health Condition (Form PFL-4)
  • COVID-19 Quarantine PFL – Child (Form CCOVID19)
  • Request for COVID-19 Quarantine DB/PFL – Self (Form SCOVID19)

You can download these from your state’s official website. Some states may have other names for these forms such as California which calls it  Claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits (DE 2501F).

 

If you get laid off or furloughed in the course of your leave, immediately apply for UI benefits. You won’t be able to claim unemployment benefits while you receive paid family leave or disability insurance. But even if you have been furloughed or sent on unpaid leave, you can avail of unemployment benefits.

A few states have not yet updated their guidelines to provide coronavirus paid sick and family leave. Keep an eye on your state website.

 

 

 

Yes, you read that right. We are all well aware of the importance of healthcare professionals at this crucial time. We read about the admirable efforts of frontline doctors, nurses, administrative staff, etc in handling the burden of patients. They are out there risking their health for our benefit.

And yet, The Employment Situation tells us that 43,000 jobs disappeared. How did the Coronavirus pandemic cause unemployment in Health Care Services? At the same time, the news also reports a shortage of healthcare professionals. What is happening? We will find out in this post.

Let’s begin by glancing at the sector during normal times when the economy is up and running. How were things before COVID-19 hit?

Overview of Health Care Services Sector

The sector employed an estimated 19.1 million people in 2018, considering the social assistance sector as well, which is closely linked in its function. The top 3 roles employing a maximum number of people are registered nurses, nursing assistants, and personal care aides. Physicians are the 5th largest role.

Work in this sector is mentally and physically demanding with people working an average of 35 hours per week. Employees earn an average of $28.30 per hour, though there is much variation with the role.

Impact of COVID-19

Despite the US being one of the top countries in medical spending, the surge in COVID-19 cases has stretched the healthcare system thin. Reports of shortages of masks, ventilators, beds, and other protective and emergency equipment are rife.

Due to lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in most states, job losses have taken place in dentists’ offices, physicians and other healthcare practitioners. The widespread unemployment in other sectors has blown back upon dentists, dermatologists, chiropractors, etc. whose services aren’t seen as a grave necessity in times requiring high savings. The medical assistance staff in such places also get furloughed.

Since elective surgeries have been put on hold, the associated staff have been furloughed. Hospitals have been compelled to send staff home and cut physicians’ pay because they haven’t the funds to deal with the pandemic. The CARES act funds are yet to arrive at the time this post is being written.

Caregiving staff cannot work due to the stay-at-home orders. The trickle-down effect of employment across the economy means that people may not be able to afford specialized care, either.

Jobs Still Hiring in Health Care Services

Some health care institutions like hospitals may be open to hiring administrative positions, janitorial staff, etc. States have expressed a need to recall retired nurses owing to the shortage due to the disease burden. Some of those skills are transferable to the pharma sector which may be interested in recruiting given the acceleration of drug testing.

Future Prospects For Health Care Services (And Social Assistance)

The under-preparation demonstrated by the healthcare system has shone a light upon the deficiencies of the sector. The US has been criticized for underspending on public health care. 

Considering the onslaught of climate change, it will be necessary to prepare for future public health emergencies like this one. Many people will be displaced and suffer from diseases in the future as weather extremes like heat waves and sea-level rise are predicted.

It is likely that this sector will recover very quickly when the economy runs at full strength again. There is a push to increase testing capacity and human capital in health care supporting companies including the pharma sector. This could lead to new job opportunities. 

The pandemic has underscored the necessity for data collection and analyses, so there should be opportunities especially for graduates who can pick up these skills. Mental health awareness is only rising and perhaps the pandemic will end with the need to address traumas caused by it. 

With the increase in the geriatric population, there should be scope for those having and willing to acquire geriatric care and social assistance skills. Also, social workers, community outreach workers, etc. have important roles to play in harmonious living and should quickly recover once stay-at-home orders lift.

https://fileunemployment.org