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Who's Hiring Amid Coronavirus Layoffs

26/03/2020 6:41pm

Dow Jones News


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By Chip Cutter 

It isn't just major retailers and health-care giants hiring in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Moving companies, food makers and others say they need additional help, too.

With more than three million people filing for unemployment benefits last week--a record--plenty of Americans are now looking for work. Economists say most of the job opportunities at the moment involve getting food, medicine and other essential supplies to people.

Amazon.com Inc. has said it plans to hire an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the U.S. to keep up with surging demand, while Walmart Inc. will hire 150,000 people to work in its stores and fulfillment centers.

As more people cook at home, Blue Apron Holdings Inc. says it wants to fill 300 roles at the company's fulfillment centers in Linden, N.J., and Richmond, Calif., to meet a rise in demand for its pre-apportioned meal kits.

The company hopes to hire people displaced by the restaurant or food-service industry, said Linda Findley Kozlowski, Blue Apron's chief executive.

Pet-food suppliers and cleaning products manufacturers are hiring logistics and distribution staffers because of the outbreak, said Adam Roston, chief executive of Bluecrew, an on-demand staffing platform owned by IAC. "It's lots of places that are not necessarily on the tops of consumers' minds."

GE Healthcare, meanwhile, said the company would hire additional manufacturing employees as it ramps up ventilator production, even as General Electric Co.'s jet-engine business will layoff about 10% of its workforce. GE didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about whether the laid off employees could be redeployed in new GE jobs.

On the job site Indeed.com, the company has seen an increase in job postings for some roles, such as medical technicians and retail stockers, but overall job postings are slowing, said Jed Kolko, chief economist at the site. The new jobs to aid with the pandemic likely won't be enough to make up for all those lost. "The trend in job postings is down," he said.

Many companies have paused hiring entirely until it's clear how long the outbreak lasts. "There's more room for uncertainty about how severe this slowdown will be," Mr. Kolko said.

Those companies with open jobs say they are seeing a steep spike in interest.

At Bellhops, a moving company that operates in 65 cities, applications have risen 60% week-over-week, Chief Executive Luke Marklin said. The company is hiring thousands of movers and drivers across the country, because people are moving or relocating amid the outbreak, Mr. Marklin said.

"We're not seeing any dip in demand" for moving services, he said.

Some companies, such as Walmart and Target Corp., have raised wages or offered bonuses to front-line workers, and others are offering additional sick-leave benefits to compensate staffers, should they become ill.

Sheetz, a convenience chain with 600 stores across the mid-Atlantic, said it would temporarily raise the wages of its 17,000 hourly workers by $3 an hour. The company is hiring, and wants to fill 1,300 open jobs, primarily staffers to work or manage its stores, a spokeswoman said. Pay now ranges from $10 to $18 an hour.

Write to Chip Cutter at chip.cutter@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 26, 2020 14:26 ET (18:26 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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