Commentary

Some Companies Hiring As Demand For Critical Goods --- And Pizza --- Rises

With layoffs surging and more than half the jobs in the American economy reportedly at risk due to the impact of COVID-19, some companies are looking to hire thousands of workers to get food, medications and other vital products from the factories and into the homes of consumers.

“Millions of people lost jobs or saw their wages severely curtailed last week as many companies shut down or cut back on operations. But the pandemic has also created a spike in demand for critical products and services, causing some of America’s biggest employers to scramble to try to hire workers at a time when parts of the country are going into lockdown. Many are forgoing normal hiring procedures to add staff as quickly as possible,” write  David Gelles and Michael Corkery for The New York Times.

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“On Thursday, Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, said it was looking to hire 150,000 additional employees in its stores and warehouses through the end of May. That represents a roughly 10% increase in its current work force,” they add.

“CVS Health is hiring 50,000 workers and delivering bonuses to employees who are required to work on-site during the coronavirus pandemic. The company's CVS Pharmacy locations remain open during the COVID-19 crisis. CVS is giving workers bonuses of up to $500. Eligible recipients include pharmacists, store employees and managers,” Nathan Bomey writes  for USA Today.

"Dollar General Corp. said Monday it plans to hire 50,000 employees by the end of April, as it nearly doubles its hiring rate to support heightened demand for household essentials amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the new hires are expected to be temporary. The discount retailer said it currently operates 16,300 stores in 45 states,” Tomi Kilgore reports  for Market Watch.

7-Eleven wants to hire approximately 20,000 people “to meet increased demand”; Winn-Dixie plans to accelerate its hiring process for workers at Fresco y Más, BIL-LO and its own stores, and Publix plans to hire “thousands of associates” in its stores and distribution centers by the end of March, C. Isaiah Smalls II reports for The Miami Herald

Pizza Hut is recruiting more than 30,000 employees, Papa John's is looking to hire 20,000 new “restaurant team members” and “Domino's plans to hire 10,000 employees to work as pizza makers, delivery personnel and customer service representatives. The company is also looking for people to fill roles at its supply chain centers in addition to management and assistant management positions,” CNN Business’ Chauncey Alcorn reports  in a story that rounds up hiring around the country.

In addition to these recent developments, Amazon announced way back on March 16 -- it seems that way, right? -- that it was opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the U.S.

Still, nearly 80 million of the 153 million jobs in the U.S. economy are at high or moderate risk today, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics. That’s more than half of the 153 million jobs in the economy overall.

“‘That doesn't mean that all those jobs will be lost. But it's probable that as many as 10 million of those workers could see some impact to their paychecks -- either layoffs, furloughs, fewer hours or wage cuts,’ said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics,” writes  Chris Isidore for  CNN Business.

“The job market is in free fall,” said Zandi. “Businesses have no choice but to reduce payrolls,” he said, adding that even those who remain employed face gloomy prospects. “Most of those people, even if they don't lose their jobs, they're going to lose hours, they're going to lose pay,” he said, Martha C. White reports  for NBC News.

Tweeting “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” President Donald Trump yesterday echoed Fox News hosts and others who are suggesting that stay-at-home mandates be lifted and that shuttered businesses should be reopened. He repeated that sentiment last night during the daily COVID-19 press conference/campaign rally, proclaiming “our country wasn’t built to be shut down.”

Even before the President’s tweets and bombast yesterday, “economists [worried] that an apparent push by the White House to quash the dissemination of bad news will only make things worse. [Moody’s] Zandi slammed reports that President Donald Trump’s administration ordered state labor offices to stop publicizing their own jobs data….,” NBC News’ White writes.

“‘This is really a huge mistake,’ Zandi said. ‘If they don't know how bad it is, how can policymakers and people make good decisions, and where does it stop?’ he said. ‘People aren't going to feel like they're getting the truth… and if no one trusts, everyone panics,’” White adds.

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