By every measure, the job market is getting grim.
With many non-essential businesses forced to close, workers across the country are suddenly facing extended furloughs or lay-offs. The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% — from 3.5% — its highest level since August 2017, and it will likely climb much higher.
“There’s no avoiding a substantial rise in the unemployment rate, likely eclipsing the 10% level during the Great Recession,” said Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com.
“The real, unanswerable question at this point is how many of these jobs come back after social distancing guidelines are relaxed and businesses reopen,” he added. “We hope for the best but brace for the worst.”
“Laid-off workers should look to industries in which the pandemic has placed increased demand for workers, like health care and delivery services,” said Irina Novoselsky, the CEO of CareerBuilder.
“Also, the retailers that are open — like supermarkets and hardware stores — are in need of more staff to manage long lines and to replace those who can’t or won’t work due to health concerns,” she said.
Amazon, Anthem, Decker Truck Line and Home Depot posted the highest number of open job listings last week, according to CareerBuilder. Amazon alone said it plans to hire an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers amid a surge in online orders.
“This is not surprising given the increased demand for delivery services, and that consumers are stocking up and making bigger purchases at grocery and big box stores,” Novoselsky said.
As for the jobs with the most openings, registered nurses, truck drivers, customer service representatives, drivers with a commercial license and software engineers are all needed, CareerBuilder found.
LinkedIn also identified the most in-demand jobs nationwide, as well as the companies with the most open jobs based on postings in March.
Job postings in health care spiked 35% compared to just a few months earlier, LinkedIn found, with hospitals, pharmacies and insurance providers all currently hiring.
“Many of these openings are entry-level or hourly positions that require little to no training or experience, so it’s possible for individuals at all levels to jump right into a new position,” said Blake Barnes, LinkedIn’s head of careers and talent solutions.
Gig employment is ramping up in a few key areas to support those essential services, according to a separate report by staffing firm PeopleReady.
“In a time when people are struggling to make ends meet and wondering when things will return to normal, temporary work can help to bridge employment gaps while serving the greater good,” said Taryn Owen, the president of PeopleReady.
For furloughed workers looking for a temporary paycheck, some of the most in-demand jobs are for warehouse workers, cleaners, stockers and truck unloaders for grocery stores and pharmacies, PeopleReady found.
“As communities mobilize to stop the spread of COVID-19, they need extra hands on deck to support overburdened health-care systems, manufacturing and distribution of food and other critical supplies, emergency construction, waste management and more,” Owen said.
In addition, opportunities exist for job seekers more interested in working remotely.
Remote job search site FlexJobs pinpointed the companies hiring remote workers right now, including Amazon, CVS and UnitedHealth, based on its annual list of the top 100 companies hiring remote workers.
During the last recession, remote work was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak employment picture. Those job listings continued to increase every year even as in-office jobs declined, according to FlexJobs.