The number of people in the United States who have lost either a permanent or a temporary job increased for the seventh consecutive month in September, another indication that hopes for a quick recovery from the pandemic-induced economic shutdown are not tethered to any economic reality.
With the Sept. 30 expiration of some protections for workers under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act having passed, the risk of rising permanent job losses will be one of the major pressing policy issues as the United States heads toward the election on Nov. 3.
In September, the total number of people who have lost employment — and are not on temporary layoff — reached 4.5 million. As we show in the first figure below, that includes the 3.8 million who have lost a permanent job, and the 700,000 who have lost a temporary position.
That large corporations have announced significant layoffs recently, seven months into the pandemic, is a matter of great concern for the long-term health of the economy.
While a possible second bailout of the airlines is encouraging, other industries like hotels, bars, restaurants, casinos and resorts are not likely to receive such government assistance.
Moreover, without either a replenishment of the Paycheck Protection Program or an outright forgiveness of the PPP loans, the lagging impact of bankruptcies and firings of workers for firms that survive is going to be a major issue facing small and medium-size firms going forward.
The increase in people who have lost temporary employment is disturbing for the growing number of workers in the gig economy, from film editors who go from project to project to coders who are often the first to go when a cutback becomes necessary.
No matter what type of employment a worker has, the length of time a person is out of work affects that worker’s ability to regain employment.
For more information on how the coronavirus is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.