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  3. The first U.S. layoffs from the coronavirus are here

User Info: McSame_as_Bush

8 months ago#1
Hundreds of Americans have lost jobs over the past week as the coronavirus outbreak has begun to take a deeper toll on the U.S. economy and bring more industries to a standstill, according to interviews with two dozen companies and workers.

Strong job growth has defined the U.S. economic expansion over the past decade. The early layoffs are an indication of how the coronavirus is triggering a rapid turnaround in an American economy that only weeks ago looked strong, with unemployment at a half-century low.

At the Port of Los Angeles, 145 drivers have been laid off and others have been sent home without pay as massive ships from China have stopped arriving and work has dried up. At travel agencies in Atlanta and Los Angeles, several workers lost their jobs as bookings evaporated. A stage-lighting company in Las Vegas called Christie Lites laid off about 20 workers this week and a hotel in downtown Seattle is doing away with an entire department, former employees of both said. As many as 50 people lost their jobs after the cancellation of the South by Southwest festival in Austin.

Many of the job losses have been concentrated in the travel, tourism, events and trucking industries. Economists fear there could be more layoffs in the coming weeks as supply chains come to a halt and people stay home and spend less.

“We will definitely see an effect on jobs from the coronavirus, and it could be pretty large in leisure and hospitality,” said Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecruiter. “The first thing we’ll see is a reduction in hours. We hear many reports of employers canceling staff everywhere except in health care.”

On Monday in Los Angeles, Sam Creighton was called into a mandatory noon meeting at which she and 20 colleagues were fired from the China Visa Service Center. Creighton helped Americans get travel documents to China, but business plummeted as groups and individuals canceled trips to Asia out of virus fear. The company used to process around 400 visas a month. In February, that fell to 22. The visa center did not return a request for comment.

“This job was my paycheck,” said Creighton, 27, who worked at the company for about three years. “I really don’t know what to do next."

Baiden King was laid off from her job at a bake shop in Omaha on Tuesday because online sales and customer traffic had dried up dramatically — especially after the state’s first case of covid-19 was reported nearby. King said her manager pulled her aside when she showed up for her shift that morning and told her she had no choice. King made $11 an hour.

“If my job’s laying off people, I can only imagine other employers are as well,” said King, who is preparing to move back in with her parents. “I’m not sure anyone will be hiring.”

These early coronavirus-related jobs cuts appear to have mostly affected younger, entry-level employees and gig workers. Workers receiving pink slips said that they have no idea whether these layoffs will be permanent or temporary and that it is nearly impossible to look for another job right now, with many companies instituting hiring freezes. Uncertainty is high, and as people lose jobs — or fear losing jobs — they typically scale back spending even more, which has a ripple effect on local economies.

Shippers Transport Express sent layoff notices at the end of February to 145 drivers who transport big containers from Asia from the port to corporate warehouse hubs. The company told workers there has been a “near shutdown” of its operations at the port “for the foreseeable future.” Many factories closed in China, stunting shipments to the United States.

“I’ve been working the ports for 13 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Randy L. Williams, a trucker for Shippers Transport Express. “I’m glad I didn’t buy a house yet.”

He said that the port typically handles over 1,000 containers a night at his part of the operation, including some Walmart products, but that now it is down to 200. He had worked two days in the past two weeks.

Williams has dipped into his savings, and money is tight with a son in college. But he has union benefits and has applied for unemployment insurance. He has also been able to save from years of $29-an-hour pay. Not everyone at the port has that situation.

Josue Alvarez drives for another company operating at the port, XPO Logistics, but he is classified as an independent driver, meaning he gets no vacation, sick days or health insurance. He has to pay for his truck and all the related expenses. He typically makes $2,000 a week, but since mid-February, that has dropped to $300, a level he can’t survive on for long.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. My dispatchers say it will get worse before it gets better,” said Alvarez, who is 26 and lives with his parents. His father is also a trucker at the port. They show up early every day hoping there will be work, but in the past two weeks they almost always get sent home with no pay.

“The disruption to trade will be felt well beyond the dock workers,” said Stephen Levy, senior economist at the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “Half of China’s goods come to the Port of Los Angeles. That will be felt by warehouse workers, truckers and people in the wholesale trade.”

Some UPS drivers in Los Angeles have had their hours and pay scaled back. Ron Herrera, international vice president of the Western Region Teamsters, the union representing UPS drivers, said it was because of a decline in shipments due to the spread of coronavirus. A UPS spokesman said that it was a “routine” staffing adjustment and that those drivers “are allowed to work at either a full- or a part-time” UPS facility.

The major airlines, weathering a massive decline in travelers, have not started layoffs yet, but nearly all have canceled routes and many have put on a hiring freeze, said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, which represents about 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines. It is a major turnaround from the start of the year, when airlines projected they would need to add thousands of flight attendants. Now hours are rapidly being scaled back and everyone is on edge about what is next.

“It’s just like a factory,” Nelson said. “When it slows down and they cut all of the overtime hours, that is a massive pay cut for people right off the top.”

Some of the hardest hit so far are gig workers and independent contractors. They are caught in a sort of limbo: Work is drying up, meaning they are effectively laid off, but they do not get to collect unemployment insurance. A payroll tax cut that President Trump has proposed would not help them.

“It’s kind of like I’m laid off but I’m not,” said Chad Denick, 35, who was told Monday he no longer needed to report to his job as a catering contractor for a tech company, because employees would be working from home for the rest of the month. “But this is what I know: I don’t have a job at least until April.”

Denick has stopped going out to restaurants and scaled back on purchases like the $20 phone-charging mat he picked up a few days ago after work.
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User Info: McSame_as_Bush

8 months ago#3
The cancellation of major conferences, including South by Southwest, Austin’s annual tech, music and film festival, has also created ripple effects of lost gigs. For Elle Mahoney, a freelance stage manager and producer, the SXSW cancellations knocked out 10 percent of her income. She just got engaged but has put wedding planning on hold, including picking a wedding date.

“Everything is just on hold,” said Mahoney, 35, who is reaching out to people she used to nanny for to help make up lost pay. “It’s just really hard for us to depend on money from gig to gig.”

Lisa Sato, who owns an events production company in Sausalito, Calif., has been inundated with calls from freelance technicians, stage managers and lighting designers asking whether she has “any work at all.” But of the eight events she was supposed to produce in March, all but one was canceled. She is worried about the lack of a safety net for those workers. She said she has not seen anything like this in the event business, except for the eight months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

There has been a similar flood of phone calls to Sherry Caserta, who owns Travel Employment Agency in Kansas City, Mo. She has begun telling potential applicants that their chances of landing a new job “are limited right now” as job postings are evaporating.

“The layoffs are already happening,” she said. “Most of these are last-hired, first-fired situations, but I’m really seeing it pick up this week in big cities: Atlanta, New York, Chicago.”

Workers expressed shock at how quickly they were laid off or saw gigs go away. Alex Brown, who made $12 an hour overseeing marketing for a boutique travel agency in Atlanta, received an email Monday saying she was being laid off because of nosediving sales and a falling stock market. Her boss told her that he would get in touch “when this all blows over.”

“Even with that, I really wasn’t expecting to get laid off so soon,” she said.

Brown, 22, is not sure where to find new work. She has emailed her former manager at an upscale restaurant and plans to talk to her boss at a gelato shop, where she works one shift a week, to see whether she can get more hours. But she is afraid those places will be struggling soon, too.

“I don’t even know where I should be looking,” Brown said. “Which businesses are actually going to be hiring long-term for this strange year ahead of us? Everyone is cutting back.”

User Info: -Kicksave-

8 months ago#4
Imagine you’re a small local business who took out loans and invested heavily to serve the SXSW conference or other event (Japanese Olympics). Then event is cancelled. s***.
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
Rico, YOU know what to DO!

User Info: pnut027

8 months ago#5
*opens conservative blame game playbook to page 3, para 2*

Nuke the Confederacy

User Info: pnut027

8 months ago#6
-Kicksave- posted...
Imagine you’re a small local business who took out loans and invested heavily to serve the SXSW conference or other event (Japanese Olympics). Then event is cancelled. s***.
Sounds like an insurance claim to me.
Nuke the Confederacy

User Info: ReiRei89

8 months ago#7
Interwebuser is going to post some bulls*** statistic to fellate the f*** out of Trump.
"Going to the Grand Canyon" is how Limbaugh's doctor refers to giving Limbaugh a colonoscopy-Kavatar

User Info: KTG2

8 months ago#8
My wife works as the stage manager for a theatre that is talking about shutting down for a few months. I just transitioned to a job in front line healthcare after the pharmacy I was working for folded unexpectedly...but I'm in an insurance gap until 4/1 and have type 1 diabetes.

We just got married over the holidays so our savings are pretty tanked. We're basically two persistent coughs away from having to move in with her parents. But yeah sure tell me again how this virus is a f***ing hoax to bruise the presidents fragile ego
Just realized I hadn't changed this since December 2017 - Changed 7/25/19

User Info: Noob__Smoke

8 months ago#9
travel industry is taking a savage beating
"Why should I harbor hatred towards someone who is obviously inferior to myself?
All I feel, is pity."

User Info: Noob__Smoke

8 months ago#10
KTG2 posted...
We just got married over the holidays
"Why should I harbor hatred towards someone who is obviously inferior to myself?
All I feel, is pity."
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