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COVID-19

While many face unemployment, Amazon ramps up hiring during COVID-19

Kimberly Adams Mar 17, 2020
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Amazon says it will pay workers at least $17 an hour to work during the pandemic. Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

While many face unemployment, Amazon ramps up hiring during COVID-19

Kimberly Adams Mar 17, 2020
Amazon says it will pay workers at least $17 an hour to work during the pandemic. Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

More than half of the jobs in the U.S. could be at risk as COVID-19 continues to limit economic activity, according to Moody’s Analytics. But there’s also some brisk hiring.

Amazon says it’s going to hire an additional 100,000 full- and part-time workers. That’s because the company is seeing a surge in demand as more people are staying at home.

“Obviously, people are going to make more use of home deliveries, it makes perfect sense,” said Dan Griswold, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center. “And Amazon’s in a good position to ramp up and meet demand.”

Amazon says it will pay workers at least $17 an hour to work during the pandemic.

Brick-and-mortar grocery chains like Safeway and Kroger are also recruiting more workers.

“There are certain crucial jobs that people will have to still go to work even as we adjust to new lifestyle. And that’s just sort of how it is,” said Kate Bahn, labor economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

These companies are hiring people to go to work, so that others can avoid going out as much as possible.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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