The job market in a COVID-19 world is unpredictable. Just as employers and employees felt as if things were returning to the new normal, COVID case numbers have increased significantly. Total number of new cases in the U.S. have been on a steady rise since the beginning of October.
November 6th marked the highest number of new cases since the pandemic began, causing serious concern. The total COVID-19 case count for the U.S. is 10.1 million Americans with over 238,000 deaths.
Texas, California, Florida, New York, and Illinois are the top five states with the most COVID cases.
The current rise in cases has definitely impacted the job market. Americans ready to return to work may need to stay home due to new pandemic restrictions for companies and local businesses.
However, not all industries are impacted. Ecommerce, for example, has shown resilience to COVID job market woes. Companies that support ecommerce are also seeing upticks in business, like software startups and payment processing companies.
“We have seen a big interest from brick and mortar companies to now offer online ordering. In addition, businesses that are still working with customers in person are adopting contactless payments as a safer way to accept and deliver payments," said Angelo Mendola, President and COO of Priority Payment Systems Local.
Unemployment Rate Slowly Decreasing, But Not Fast Enough
The U.S. job market is still in limbo as unemployment rates seem quick to recover. The latest unemployment rate is 6.9 percent. There was only one percentage point decline from September.
The number of unemployed Americans is also declining. However, not fast enough. The current number of unemployed Americans is 11.1 million. Approximately 1.5 million people returned to the workforce in October.
The decrease in unemployment rate and decline in unemployed Americans is promising. But the return to work and new job opportunities are slow to recover to the February numbers.
The future of the U.S. job market as we head into the final months of 2020 seems a bit grim. And the holiday shopping season is just around the corner.
What’s The U.S. Job Market Outlook?
The job market needs to get back into a rhythm soon. A survey from Pew Research Center found that one in four American adults are having issues paying bills due to the COVID pandemic. And a third of Americans have already dipped into their savings to pay bills and avoid loan and mortgage defaults.
Low-income plays a role as well. Around 46 percent of low-income Americans said paying bills during COVID has been challenging. Many of which have fallen behind on rent and mortgage payments.
Job loss has had a serious impact on the job market and overall family finances. Approximately 25 percent of Americans have lost their jobs, or know someone who has, due to COVID. Lower-income adults were more susceptible to pandemic job loss.
And if they didn’t lose their job entirely, they lost wages due to reduced hours. Around 21 percent of U.S. adults had their hours reduced due to the pandemic. And 60 percent of those who had a reduction in hours are getting paid a lot less than pre-pandemic.
Job loss, or reduced hours and wages, has affected certain demographic groups. This has led to serious financial hardships for American workers already at the low-income level.
Paying bills is a serious issue for over 11 million unemployed Americans. And those who made financial adjustments to get by have almost wiped out their savings and/or retirement funds.
Savings And Retirement At Risk Due To Current Job Market
Saving for retirement is on every American’s to-do list. However, saving money during the COVID pandemic is certainly challenging. If not impossible. 36 percent of U.S. adults who saved money pre-pandemic said they are saving less money during the pandemic.
Interestingly, 44 percent of those who normally save money said they have been able to save about the same every month. And 19 percent said they are actually saving more. Among low-income adults, 50 percent said they are saving much less every month.
This could all have serious implications for the U.S. economy down the road. If U.S. adults do not have savings and retirement funds in place when they reach 65, a major strain could be put on the government. More strain than what is currently happening.
The job market needs to get back to February numbers sooner rather than later. But with a second wave of COVID sweeping the U.S., the job market outlook is not looking great. Only time will tell.