The Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences continue to dominate our update on stories from the world of work. This week we look at which sectors have been hardest hit and which are still hiring, as well as the businesses that are shifting production to essential supplies.

#1. Who’s hiring amid the pandemic crisis?


The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on some sectors of the economy, notably the hospitality industry, with hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs. However, the employment picture isn’t entirely gloomy. Essential stores, such as supermarkets and pharmacies are hiring more people in an attempt to cope with the crisis and so are delivery companies, who need more staff in their warehouses. For illustration, here is a list of some of the larger US companies planning to hire new staff:


Number of people these U.S. companies plan to hire:

Instacart 300,000
Walmart 150,000
Amazon 100,000
Dollar General 50,000
CVS 50,000
Albertsons 30,000
Pizza Hut 30,000
Dollar Tree 25,000
Papa John’s 20,000
7-Eleven 20,000
Dominos 10,000
Kroger 10,000
Walgreens 9,500
Pepsi 6,000

— Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) MARCH 23, 2020


#2. Hard-hit sectors see a boost in online résumés


A study carried out by Forbes writer Jack Kelly shows that there has been a significant boom in the number of people posting their résumés online. In the airline industry he found more than 25,000 résumés, from employees in every part of the business, many with more than 10 years’ experience. Other sectors with large numbers of résumés uploaded include restaurants, and hotels. The long-term damage to these sectors remains to be seen but the number of CVs being posted shows just how many people have been laid off or feel that their jobs are under threat.

Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

#3. European labour laws a better fit for Covid-19 disruption


Meanwhile, analysts suggest that the European labour market model means it is better positioned than the US to survive the Covid-19 disruption. European rules make it harder for companies to hire and fire employees at will and, in countries like Germany, France, and Italy, there are already measures to support employees whose work is temporarily suspended. Businesses in these countries, analysts suggest, will be better equipped to recover once the outbreak is over. Countries like the US and UK, on the other hand, are scrambling to put these kinds of protections in place so that they can protect their economies from further damage.

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

#4. Businesses switch production to meet shortages


Ventilators, hand sanitiser, and protective masks are all in huge demand across the world as healthcare organisations attempt to slow their spread of Covid-19 and treat those worst affected by the pandemic. In a bid to meet demand, many businesses have shifted production away from their usual products. In Europe, cosmetics manufacturers such as Givenchy and Christian Dior are producing hand sanitisers, as are many alcohol suppliers. Firms ranging from Nissan and Airbus to Dyson and JCB are also donating expertise and factory space to produce necessary equipment. In the US, similar efforts are underway from the likes of Ford and 3M.

Photo by H Shaw on Unsplash

#5. Covid-19 causes the biggest business activity drop ever


Finally, research from IHS Markit shows that the pandemic has led to the “largest collapse in business activity ever recorded”. The IHS Markit Eurozone Composite PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) collapsed from 51.6 in February 2020, to 31.4 in March. This is the largest fall ever recorded and drops the index, which is based on data from around 5,000 companies in the Euro area, to its lowest level since February 2009. Especially hard hit was the service sector, which fell to the lowest level since the survey began while also recording job cuts at the steepest rate since May 2009. This is unlikely to be the last of the bad news, with survey respondents universally pessimistic about the prospects for the year ahead.


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