Unemployment Is on the Rise Again

The Bureau of Labor announced updated unemployment numbers on December 16, and the news isn't good. The number of new claims rose again, leading many people to wonder when the lost jobs will actually return to the company. The holiday season is usually one with lower unemployment because people take seasonal jobs at retail and delivery providers, but that doesn't seem to be the case this year. Here's where unemployment is now and where economists think it will go in the future.

What the COVID-19 Pandemic Did to the Jobs Market

The COVID-19 pandemic chopped up the job market this year. It cut a huge valley between businesses that benefited from the crisis and those that were hobbled by it. More than 22 million jobs were lost at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. So far, about 12 million of those jobs have been recovered. However, that leaves 10 million jobs that disappeared. Some people want to know where all the jobs went.

Which Industries Fared Well or Even Added Jobs

Some industries were poised to benefit from the conditions caused by the pandemic. Couriers, warehouses, information services and building materials manufacturers saw record sales and contracts. They reaped the rewards of people staying home, working from home and having their groceries, other goods and services delivered to them at home. Some examples of companies in this sector have included Walmart, Amazon and internet service providers.

Which Industries Are Floundering

Many sectors of the economy require people to be there in person. These settings are usually crowded. Some examples include spectator sports, mass transit, retail clothing, restaurants and performing arts. Movies, entertainment, hospitality, travel and tourism also lost millions of jobs. Most economists agree that leisure and hospitality lost the most jobs. People stopped eating out at restaurants and put a halt to their travel plans.

Doing Business Put People At Risk

With more people staying at home, a business that could not offer its products or services on a remote or low- to no-contact basis put itself and its employees at a high level of both economic and personal health risk. Most of those people were low-income, low-hour sectors. Some jobs that were affected include hotel cleaning staff, stadium janitors and food vendors, waitstaff at restaurants and bartenders. Those jobs got cut, then some were hired back with help from the Paycheck Protection Program and limited reopening. However, those industries are losing again as winter arrives and COVID-19 cases increase in most of the United States.

Collateral Damage

The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused a lot of collateral damage. For example, healthcare has lost jobs, which seems counterintuitive. That's because all non-essential services were halted for several months. The lack of personal protective equipment and the high demand on hospital resources caused an initial furlough period in healthcare. People didn't want to go to the doctor if they didn't absolutely have to because they didn't want to get exposed to COVID-19 from a person in the waiting area.

COVID-19 Has Accelerated the Decline of Some Industries

Some industries were already fading when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Their situations were made worse by the crisis. Coal mining is one such industry. Natural gas is cheaper, and renewable energy is more popular. Family-owned restaurants are also closing their doors faster. Movie theaters are another industry. People were already flocking to streaming options. Streaming movies costs less and is more convenient. With theater tickets costing $15 for a single ticket for an evening showing of a movie, people can pay for a streaming service for the cost of two movies for two people. Streaming is a better and more convenient deal. The owners and operators of movie theaters might have to turn to drive-in theaters in the future. This would provide the big-screen experience with less person-to-person contact.

Which Industries Could Make a Comeback

Some industries could make a comeback or soar up from a plateau. Zoom has done well, and there is room for competition in the market. The arts and crafts industry has done well during the pandemic, despite many mills and manufacturing centers having to close. A walk through a big-box craft store will show empty bins and shelves where skeins of yarn and bolts of fabric would be located. People are reconnecting with their hobbies while staying home, and there could be a boom in people doing more of those leisure activities in the future.

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