Which Industries Are Hit the Hardest by the Pandemic?

The worst global pandemic in more than a century has inflicted harrowing damage on the world, in addition to having a devastating impact on the economy.

In the United States, businesses of all shapes and sizes have had to shutter their doors to comply with social distancing guidelines. These necessary measures have touched every corner of the American economy because when a restaurant has to close up shop and lay off employees, the farmer loses a client, and so too does the shipping company that was connecting the two businesses.

Judging from the dismal performance of the stock market and with 22 million Americans filing for unemployment in the last four weeks, a recession is a near certainty.

LendEDU, a personal finance company, recently released two surveys, each of 1,000 adult Americans, to gauge how the Coronavirus pandemic is impacting the finances and jobs of everyday people.

The surveys were identical in the questions they asked but conducted two weeks apart, the first on March 18 and the second on April 1, so that trends could be developed.

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LendEDU’s first survey found that due to the Coronavirus pandemic, 35% of Americans had maintained their same job, 6% had been laid off, 13% had their hours partially cut, and 11% had been furloughed. The same report also found that 57% of those that still had a job were concerned about their job security moving forward.

Two weeks later, the second survey saw the percentage of respondents that had been laid off double to 12%. Additionally, only 24% of Americans still had the same jobs, while 12% had seen hours cut, and 13% had been furloughed.

Interestingly, there was actually a slight drop of two percentage points when it came to respondents being worried about their job security going forward. Perhaps this indicates that as we continue to move through this pandemic, more employees are feeling safer in keeping their jobs or have been reassured that they will not be getting laid off.

So, which industries have been the hardest hit? From LendEDU’s second survey, 24% of those in either retail or hotel and food services have been laid off, while 56% are concerned about job security moving forward. For transportation and warehousing employees, those percentages are 15% and 42% respectively.

17% of Americans in the finance field have lost their jobs, while 44% are worried about their job security. For those in a technical field, like the software business, 13% have been laid off and 53% are worried about their job security. For respondents in the information services and data industry, those percentages are 10% and 79% respectively.

Interestingly, no one from the survey that was employed in a government or public administration role had lost their jobs yet, but 50% were worried about that going forward. And for those in education, 11% had lost their jobs while 54% were concerned about job security.

For those in the staffing industry, this data could be useful in determining where the biggest need is currently and how that need will change in the future. For example, while there is not a big need right now for retail or hotel and food services talent as evident by the layoffs, that could change in a big way when the economy bounces back and those jobs need to re-filled.

Or, low unemployment figures in industries like software, information services, and government or public administration, suggest that staffing professionals can focus in on these sectors that appear to be retaining employees at a higher rate and possibly looking to hire more.

Everything will change because of the pandemic, and that includes the staffing industry. Professionals in that sector should keep an eye on the data to see where there are jobs still and where the jobs will be in the coming years.


Mike Brown

Mike Brown
Mike Brown is the director of communications at Breeze, an insurtech focused on income protection through products like disability insurance and critical illness insurance.

Mike Brown

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