EMPLOYMENT: Here’s How the Pandemic Has Changed the Job Market

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by Dan Vale

Disasters affect job availability in different and sometimes conflicting ways. Here’s how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the job market – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Relocation is on the rise.

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to move from large cities to the suburbs, smaller towns, or rural areas. They are moving because online internet jobs are safer than office jobs, or because the office jobs are no longer available.

There also are many other advantages to such moves. For example, the cost of living is cheaper than in big cities, especially for housing. In addition, low mortgage rates now favor the buyer. Also, there is less fear of pandemics, crime, and civil unrest when not living in big, crowded cities. Furthermore, there is less exposure to noise and more space, and pleasant exposure to nature.

How a disaster could make big cities more attractive to people

Consider, for example, a power grid failure due to natural or human mistakes or attacks. Such an electrical blackout could last for weeks or even months and could affect large areas, thus shutting down jobs that require electrical energy.

Power restoration would occur in big cities first. That is because big cities have more high-priority, energy-dependent hospitals, fire departments, and places of employment than rural areas. Also, big cities have a higher density of energy consumers. They would likely get service before consumers in rural or even suburban areas. Those who live in big cities would have electricity restored at home and be back to work sooner than those living in less populated areas.

Now, let’s talk about how COVID-19 may affect the workforce.

First, the good news

As the pandemic subsides, schools may begin to open in September. This will enable parents to return to the workforce with less pressure. 

More employers have considered giving employees paid sick leave. Doing so will lessen the likelihood that employees will come to work sick, possibly spreading illness to other employees.

According to NPR.org: President Biden will require federal contractors to pay their employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour starting March 30, 2022, senior administration officials say — a hike that will benefit a few hundred thousand people and underscore the broader Democratic push to raise the federal pay floor to the same level.

Computer-savvy employees have more options to work from home. Automation of work tasks was already increasing, but the COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated this trend.

With generous pandemic-related unemployment benefits, many employers are having trouble filling their now open positions. Currently, the job market is a strong one. Employers have urgent needs for applicants to fill tech jobs.

Increasing numbers of older Americans provide more opportunities in eldercare, home health care, and personal services. Some small towns are paying workers to relocate. How is that for a welcome mat?

And now for the bad news 

Hospitality and retail jobs are in decline. Some of those employed in these sectors might want to consider other types of jobs. If you want a different career, spend the time to find out what career is best for you. You also might want to consider advancing your computer skills.

Older workers are likely to be discriminated against.  Unfortunately, some employers prefer to hire younger workers whose salary requests will not be as high.

Most jobs in today’s world require the use of computers, even during the application process. One example of this trend is virtual job fairs. It would be best if you embraced Lifelong learning and include computer knowledge. 

Remote computer jobs have become highly competitive. Since employees who perform work on a computer can live anywhere, companies have cast wider nets in their employee search. The wider the search, the more job applications companies will have. And the more competitive the job search can become.

Liberal unemployment benefits are not cause for complacency. An extended period of unemployment benefits will not enhance your resume.

Partially because of the stimulus payments, inflation is starting to rise. To keep the same standard of living, you might have to make more money than you did before the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The ban on evictions and foreclosures will not last forever. When it expires, people will have to pay what they owe or be out on the street with bad credit. Bad credit can keep someone from getting a job.

Conclusion

According to Jeffrey Miron, director of economics studies at the Cato Institute, “As wages rise, the worker shortage will go away.” If you like your current career trajectory, strike (apply for jobs) while the iron (the good job market) is hot. 

There you have it, some good and some bad. Try to concentrate on the good and prepare for the bad.

Has your job been affected by the pandemic? Has the change been for the better or the worse? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About the Author:

Dan Vale has a Bachelor Degree in Physical Education. He won the Mr. Delaware Bodybuilding Contest in 1968 and earned his karate Black Belt in 1973. He has had a lifelong interest in physical fitness. Furthermore, for over seven years, he wrote 785  articles for the Examiner Online Newspaper. Most of these articles were written in his capacity as the Baltimore Prepper Examiner. To see his Amazon books, visit his Amazon author page.

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18 Responses

  1. “Older workers are likely to be discriminated against. Unfortunately, some employers prefer to hire younger workers whose salary requests will not be as high.”

    Yep, the same song and dance that’s been going on for years. And the same excuse about us older folks being too expensive (news flash – I’d take the same money you’re paying that recent college grad, and give you better work for the money). I was a computer programmer for over 25 years until I aged out of the industry. They don’t want somebody like me in the IT field. Why not? Because we’ll tell the managers exactly what we think of their development methods and “cool” technology. For example, not only was I a programmer for so long, but I’ve also got a ton of driving experience and training (I drove a semi with my CDL for a year). So logically, I should be working for a company that produces self-driving vehicles. I’ve got the training and experience for it. And you know how I’d do it? Insist that development proceeds the same way it did for the space shuttle (that team had only a handful of identified errors over a 30-year period, and it took months to put in even a simple change to the code). When people’s lives and property are at stake, you want it done right, not “cool”. So no, they don’t want people like me.

    I moved out of the big city (Philadelphia) before covid, and am very glad I did. Now I live in a medium-sized city with plans to move to a smaller town when retirement comes around in a few years. I’ve had enough of being around so many people who can be so destructive.

    Oh, and I won’t take most jobs. At least not until covid protocols go away. I will not wear a muzzle all day, and I refuse to take the experimental gene therapy. Do away with that nonsense and I’ll think about working for that company. Until then, you can keep right on having your labor shortage.

    1. “employers prefer to hire younger workers whose” …

      … down-time for medical reasons is far less. an older worker may have knowledge and experience, but all that is immaterial if he’s missing too many days of work and costing the health plan $100,000 for a procedure.

      “Insist that development proceeds the same way it did for the space shuttle”

      nasa wasn’t a for-profit operation.

    2. Yep… “Cool” employers don’t really like older employees who can run circles around them and run the company successfully. Those “cool” people just want other “cool” people around who lie to them and kiss their butts…

    3. Hi Jim,

      Older workers are often more dependable. They are less likely to miss work because they partied too much the night before. Younger workers also might miss work because of their sick children. Much of the knowledge needed by younger, inexperienced workers to do a job is learned on the job, from older, experienced workers.

  2. Around here, all the fast food and casual dinning restaurants are hiring.
    But no one is applying.
    One chain is hiring starting at $17 an hour. That is $5 higher than the state minimum wage.
    Pays more to stay at home getting unemployment, watching Nexflix then working.

    1. My youngest daughter got laid off when everything shut down due to Covid. She made DOUBLE during her time off than she did working in retail. When the store re-opened, she was the only one besides management to go back to work, taking a pay cut of more than 1300 a month. The benefits: she got tons of overtime, glowing references for the future, and her self-respect.

      1. She will be well positioned for promotions both within her company and with other companies. Also, those who stay unemployed for too long might have declining skills, especially in fast changing fields that are relying more on computers, for example.

    2. Have you ever worked in fast food or even just in a restaurant? I have, and honestly, I’d do pretty much any other job than work in the food industry, even if it paid a little less. Hungry people aren’t nice. It’s no surprise to me that when there are plenty of other jobs out there, this is the last one filled. Retail is about as bad, but food service is a miserable, thankless job.

      1. Burger King in high school and when home on college break. From broiler, to assembly, to fry, to counter.
        Up scale casual, i.e. better than a chain, real chefs in the kitchen. Busing then running.
        Find dinning, busing.

        Sure there were those real world jerk customers or “guests” as Burger King preferred us to call them.
        We also had our regulars who were generally good people, knew us by name, said please and thank you. Tipped well.
        And then there was the crew who made the job tolerable, even fun.
        After work, we would go to a local bar, have a beer complain about customers, or who was a good table, if the manager was being a jerk that night, shake our heads and laugh it all off.
        Sometimes I felt close to them as a Marine platoon.

  3. Yes, most employees won’t go back to work until the expanded benefits expire in September. Reinforcing the requirement to interview for jobs to extend benefits will only encourage people to “throw” the interviews. It does nothing to remedy the situation.

  4. “Power restoration would occur in big cities first”

    and water. and food distribution. and trade. and money. and police/military protection. and (fill in the blank).

    but that’s in general. in practice, as the grid declines and resources become limited, then a central government will exercise triage and select unsupportable cities for cut-off.

    1. Those who return to work sooner will have a better chance of paying what they owe when their rent becomes due.

  5. The title is complete rubbish!

    Here’s the factual one

    Here’s How Operation COVIDIUS Fake Pandemic Has Changed the Job Market

  6. My office got shur down a couple of years before Covid. I spent s couple of years going back to school to get a degree in my field. I took a systems administrator job with a local school district because of the stability. It pays less than the open market but education in my area is growing, and my job is safe until there is no more school. The last year and distance learning proved that school can be done remote, things would have to be very bad before my job was in danger.

    I dont have to worry about the cool people and being kicked out because I’m north of 50. My experience was actually an asset.

    If things get as bad as they could then I may only get a an extra six months or a year, but that will be extra time to continue prepping.

    1. Your dedication to lifelong learning has allowed you to earn a degree that, along with your experience and calculated job choice, will increase your job security.

  7. I’m almost 60 YRO and have worked in some fashion since I was 15 YRO bussing tables in my small AZ hometown. I’ve been a Executive recruiter for 33 years and am blessed to find such a rewarding career but man o day how have things changed. Employers do not want to hire a senior ( yeah it’s hard for me to even say ” senior “). I keep up on my computer literacy so I’m mostly efficient but despise texting, Zoom calls and endless emails although I do recognize that those ways of communication are part of the changing employment tech landscape. One thing is for sure though. You can’t beat experience. I get all kinds of informal meetings with my co workers on employment law issues, how to conduct references properly and how to mitigate risks. I know I’m a valuable resource to my employer who leaves me alone because I earn. Truth be told: no other firm in NW Ohio would take the risk on hiring this Sr because I need a long leash. Like I said, I am blessed. Here’s a couple of observations that I see in the workplace: there has been a tectonic shift in people’s mind sets about employment in just the last few years. Why work a menial job when I feel my skill set deserves 24.00 dollars an hour? I’m worth more than that really. Right? Why bust my ass when my spouse earns a good living for us working two jobs? I can watch the kids and the View at the same time……My job does random drug testing ( and I’m not sure why because we die cast parts). And here my friends is the icing on the cake…….had a very talented guy interview for a Mold Maker position in Iowa last week and the owner of the company wanted to hire the guy. I told the owner that is not a good idea. Why? This 32 YRO with a Bachelor’s degree decided living in mom’s basement and toying with investing in Bit Coin is the career choice he should pursue. My answer? ” Get up off the damned couch, put yer pants on, get to work and then buy a ton of Crypto, then retire in three years. My suggestion fell on deaf ears. Typical. Hey, I’ve made some bad choices in life and have had to knuckle under and take jobs that I would not rather do. That’s life. However, a good life because I perform with pride.

  8. Mr. Vale has hit on many salient points concerning how the supposed pandemic has affected employment here in the USA but if i may add a couple of other observations?

    I’ve been a Executive Recruiter for 33 years and have seen the best and worst of economic conditions in that time. I place skilled trades people all the way up to VP’s and General managers in the plastics industry in NA.

    Observation 1. People that I know well who have skilled trades background are all working and have done so through out the worst of this so called pandemic. They work because they want to. The executives I work with across the country have also worked in a hybrid of work from home and being in office/factory environment.

    Observation 2. I have encountered the Millennials who demand a very high salary because they have been misinformed as to their market value. They have the information and education not the drive or application.

    Observation 3. I have more positions open with clients across the country than our firm can fill yet many of our clients are laboring under the misconception that unemployment is very high and are offering wages below what the market will bear.

    These are just general observations of course and several of my co workers are gloating about the 22 Red States ( including mine ) that are beginning to reject the additional fed funding of unemployment bennies ( which I support BTW). IMHO, the only persons who will be forced back to work to pay their rent, mortgage or car note were already working retail jobs prior to the Covid porn scamdemic.

    And, as the author mentioned there is some discrimination of older folks involved. I know, I’m a Sr citizen but am blessed to work for a firm where experience is valued.

    These are just general observations from a guy who has been around. Cheers!

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