Job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were supposed to be temporary, weren’t they? Things were going to back to normal by September, and economists were adamant that the bulk of employees laid off at the start of the pandemic in March would be back at work once businesses were cleared to open up for business once again.
There’s nothing more permanent than temporary measures, though, and seven months later, many businesses are still closed or have gone into bankruptcy, never to re-open. Travel and hospitality workers, in particular, will be facing a rather frugal Christmas, and for workers in the cruise sector, 2020 can’t come to an end fast enough.
October 2nd, 2020, saw the Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) release for September, and the numbers point to a saddening and even frightening permanence to the job loss figures. The number of US workers bracketed as “permanent” is on the rise while the number bracketed as “temporary” saw a sharp fall compared to previous months.
Permanent Job Losses – 3.75 million
Temporary Layoffs – 4.64 million
Permanent Job Losses – 3.41 million
Temporary Layoffs – 6.16 million
That trend is being played out worldwide, especially in countries with a higher-than-average reliance on tourism. While many tourist destinations did open up to overseas arrivals, the number of visitors was a fraction of the 2019 figures.
The warmer summer months were touted as being CORONA safe, as the rising temperatures would counter the virus. That might have been what we were expecting, but it certainly wasn’t what we got. Lockdown measures work as long as they are in place. Once the travel restrictions were lifted, new cases of the virus spiked worldwide, prompting many countries, Spain and the United Kingdom included, to bring back some of the measures. That’s a scenario almost guaranteed to replay in other countries as well, so those temporary layoffs are starting to look more and more like permanent job losses.
The global economy had experienced a partial rebound from the pandemic’s worst effects after the lifting of restrictions. Still, there is little evidence to support the fact that this was anything other than a temporary knee-jerk reaction.
The rate of economic recovery has slowed, the early signs are anything but encouraging, and we’re starting to see just how permanent temporary measures can be.