Love in the time of COVID: Dating apps are thriving
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As the weather gets colder, and COVID-19 infection rates rise, Americans are heading indoors, isolating again and … going online to date.
Some predicted that online dating would take a hit from the pandemic. After all, who wants to risk infection by meeting with strangers?
People like 38-year-old Jen Filz, who started doing the online dating thing for the first time in March, as Milwaukee locked down. “I’m a very social person,” explained Filz. “So it was really hard for me to suddenly go from going out and talking to random people to having absolutely no interaction with anyone.” Filz has joined Hinge, Tinder, Bumble and Facebook Dating.
She’s part of a trend. Dating app usage is growing during the pandemic. According to data company Apptopia, the top 20 apps have gained 1.5 million daily active users this year.
Jonathan Kay, the founder of Apptopia, said it’s not just the big brand names in online dating that are growing. “We’re starting to see like a bunch of niche dating apps pop up as well, which I think are actually taking some market share away from larger players,” he said.
Apps like BLK for Black singles and Chispa for Latinx people.
It is, of course, that time of year known as “cuffing season”: when you wanna be tied to one person, because it’s getting colder, the holidays are approaching, and your nosy aunt is definitely going to ask if you’re dating someone.
But analyst Ali Mogharabi at Morningstar said it’s not just that. “You’ve got singles sitting at home wanting that interaction, a lot of them basically began using online dating apps even more,” Mogharabi said.
There are also signs hookup culture could be waning in the era of COVID-19, with infection a constant concern. Jen Filz of Milwaukee said she’s definitely noticed that “there’s a lot more like, ‘Hey lets try to like Zoom date or whatever else before we actually meet.'”
At least for the time being, her dates are exclusively on Zoom.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?
The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.
What kind of help can small businesses get right now?
A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.
What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?
New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.
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