Coronavirus doomsday? Wait, there’s jobs galore


Daily radio and TV shows barrage viewers with stories of workers being laid off due to the economic crisis being brought by the novel coronavirus. A look at the job market in the US and other countries reveals there is a demand and that demand for jobs is huge.

More than 430,000 jobs have become available in the US mainly due to the coronavirus, especially in the packaging and service industries. That is considerably more than the 70,000 jobless claims lodged as the coronavirus began sweeping through the entire country.

Retail giant Walmart plans to hire 150,000 new workers. In addition, Walmart said it would give full-time employees who are paid hourly a bonus of US$300 each, and part-time hourly employees a bonus of US$150 on April 2. The Walmart jobs will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time, the company said.

Amazon announced plans to hire 100,000 new employees to handle an influx of e-commerce orders and deliveries as more Americans stay home.

The openings are across the US in fulfilment centres, 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.


In addition to Walmart and Amazon, as people flock to supermarket to maintain their “pandemic pantries” shelves are being stripped clean. In order to restock them in a timely manner US chains including Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway and Trader Joe’s have either increased hiring or offered bonuses to employees.

Lowe’s stores have remained open across the US to ensure costumers have access to essential appliances like refrigerators and freezers in addition to cleaning products. The company announced on Wednesday they are looking to fill 30,000 permanent and temporary job openings at distribution centres and in-stores.

7-Eleven, an international convenience chain with more than 70,000 stores, said 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, a national grocery chain which owns Safeway and Acme, “is immediately hiring 30,000 new associates,” the company announced.

Kroger is hiring 10,000 new associates nationwide across retail stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers, Kristal Howard, a Kroger spokeswoman said last week. “Candidates may apply via and could be placed for employment within several days of applying,” she said, adding that “Kroger’s average hourly wage is US$15 an hour.”

Trader Joe’s is paying bonuses to store employees amid an “unprecedented increase” in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK meanwhile has found postings for warehouse and driver jobs maintained an upward trend while workers were encouraged to work from home. The research also suggests many companies are boosting their whole logistics chain, as posts for order pickers – warehouse-based workers responsible for selecting, packing and sorting items for delivery – have increased by 31% from January 31 to March 18.

In the face of soaring demand, supermarkets and other retailers are racing to beef up their distribution chains with Asda, Co-op, Morrisons while Tesco announced plans for thousands of new jobs to allow them to provide more home deliveries for customers.

In the US, Pizza Hut is looking to fill 30,000 permanent job openings, parent company Yum Brands announced. As families eat more meals together, Pizza Hut says it has seen an increase in demand for its Big Dipper pizza, which offers two feet of pizza and 24 slices.

Papa John’s International also announced it’s aiming to hire 20,000 workers with an immediate start date. Domino’s Pizza says that it’s looking for full-time and part-time workers in a variety of roles, particularly drivers and pizza makers.

Hungry Howie’s, a Detroit-based pizza chain with 550 locations in 21 states, has 2,000 permanent delivery driver openings. Drivers can make up to $15 an hour, a company spokeswoman told MarketWatch.

Blue Apron, a meal kit service that delivers to homes, also announced that it is increasing capacity and hiring workers to meet coronavirus-related demand.

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, especially for emergency communication purposes, Jasper said.

The other industry with a jobs boom is the health sector and governments have been hiring in health departments to cope with callers and information needs.

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In Australia, the NSW Government is recruiting 1,000 communication specialists as the coronavirus puts enormous strain on regularly updating the general public.

“We appreciate the pressure on jobs. Jobs for us in New South Wales is the absolute focus. And I will foreshadow that New South Wales in the coming days will be announcing further measures to support jobs,” said NSW Government Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Pizza chain Domino’s has announced it needs 2,000 workers with Australians unable to dine in at cafes and restaurants increasingly turn to takeaway and delivery options.

The company is seeking “thousands of team members to help deliver hot meals to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic”, according to a statement by the chain.

Domino’s ANZ CEO Nick Knight said it was a privilege to be able to stay open during the coronavirus crisis.

“We also know that a hot meal, friendly face and reassurance that a customer’s meal has been prepared taking all necessary precautions is more essential now than ever before – and we need friendly faces to deliver,” he said.

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Adzuna reported a 67% increase in the number of nursing jobs in March compared to January and a stunning 197% increase for health job ads in Australia.

“With the COVID-19 outbreak we have also started seeing jobs being listed as a Healthcare operator, hotline consultant, and registered nurses for the testing clinics related to the coronavirus,” said Adzuna Australia country manager Tejas Deshpande.

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