Jobs that require personal contact such as servers in restaurants, those running a cash register or cleaning hotel rooms are the most vulnerable to layoffs. Those workers are flooding state unemployment websites across the country.
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As coronavirus shutdowns halt commerce across the U.S., low-wage workers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, are being quickly stung. That includes restaurant workers, hotel maids, dog walkers and child-care providers. In many cases, the cuts are tied to shutdowns and cancellations of events in sports stadiums, industry conventions, casinos, music festivals and other public gatherings.
Malls, restaurants and hotels have closed in many areas of the country. Already, the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits—a proxy for layoffs—increased last week by 70,000 from the previous week, with states telling the Labor Department the cause was the pandemic. Economists predict a much bigger surge when numbers are released for this week, with Goldman Sachs Economics Research estimating roughly 2.25 million new claims for jobless benefits.
More than 90% of the announced U.S. job cuts tied to the coronavirus were at restaurants and other entertainment and leisure businesses, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.