As things change in ways people did not expect due to the novel coronavirus, many people who work in bars, restaurants, and coffee shops have been laid off or lost their jobs altogether. As the situation changes, many people are increasingly worried about how they will make ends meet. The silver lining to this crisis is that, at least in some industries, a hiring boom is now taking place to meet new demands.
Many grocery stores, supply chain jobs, and Amazon warehouses are all hiring the same day (or fast in any case) to meet changing demand and make sure everyone has food and medical supplies. With the increase in online shopping that self isolation and quarantine has necessitated, Amazon orders have risen in quantity. Another factor is that in-store supplies have been selling out, leaving some customers no choice but to buy online.
Amazon has said it will hire 100,000 new employees to handle the demand and plans to give raises to their warehouse and fulfillment employees until the end of April as an incentive. Amazon has said it is taking extra precautions to distance workers in their warehouses from each other as well.
Some of those hiring have been posting links to job applications on forums like Reddit.
We want to recognize our employees who are playing an essential role at a time when many of the services that might normally support them are closed. Read about how we’re increasing pay and offering job opportunities to those who may now be out of work. https://t.co/K1I2JpZ4Oo
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) March 17, 2020
There is also now a site called Coronahub dedicated to helping people find all kinds of jobs in this crisis, with job listings and other information for various parts of the U.S. for the medical industry as well as coronavirus response jobs.
While food service jobs have been restricted due to orders against eating in, those who work in grocery stores, at online fulfillment centers, and in shipping and food production jobs are at the frontline during this time. While many areas have adopted shelter in place orders, going food shopping and ordering online so far are not restricted.
These jobs are not without risk, as one Amazon fulfillment center in New York shut down after an employee was found to have the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, these jobs are crucial to maintaining the supply of food, medical supplies, and other essentials to populations in such a widespread health crisis like this.
Some grocery stores have been holding job fairs, like QFC or promoting their openings, like Kroger. This way they can hire a large number of employees to meet the surge in openings. Even though some grocery stores have had a reduction in the number of cashiers needed in recent years due to self checkout machines, many supermarkets are now in need of more staff to fill the shelves that are emptied each business day.
These supply chain workers may not be doctors and nurses, but they face risk that most of us have either willingly or unwillingly been spared during this time.
Some of these positions are only temporary, but at least there are new job openings amidst a rash of food service and hospitality industry lay offs.