A historic 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, and the U.S. now has a 4.4 percent unemployment rate, up from 3.5 percent.
“I think the reality is that we are in a challenging time,” said Guy Berger.
Berger is the principle economist at LinkedIn. He explained while millions of jobs have vanished amid the pandemic, there is still some job opportunity in the labor market.
“You are actually seeing the labor market evolving toward these shifting demand and supply curves,” explained Berger.
Demand has shifted to more jobs at grocery stores and more work in food and package delivery. In fact, on LinkedIn, store associates, warehouse manager, and delivery drivers are the most in-demand jobs.
The demand in this space, has led to some companies announcing plans to hire tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of new employees. For example, CVS and Dollar General plan to hire 50,000 new workers, while Amazon and Walmart each plan to hire 100,000 or more new employees, and Instacart is expected to hire 300,000 people.
Experts warn you should carefully consider these available jobs. In the past week, some of the big companies like Instacart and Amazon have come under fire for the conditions workers are dealing with.
“They are not supplying any masks or latex gloves at all,” said one Amazon employee, who spoke outside a company warehouse in New York.
So, if you are considering new work on the frontlines, it would be wise to ask a company about its current safety practices, ask whether you would qualify for health benefits immediately should you get sick. Also, be mindful that most of the jobs out there are a result of current demand and may not likely not be long term.
“My approach to these is thinking of these jobs as like, they are more of a stop gaps or ways that people who really need some discretionary income, kind of find this as a fall back or plugging the gap,” said Berger.
So even if you take one of the available jobs, but especially if you don’t, Berger recommends using this time to update your resume, network online, and even develop new skills.
“The bad times are not going to last forever,” explained Berger. “What you need to do is set yourself up so when good times start to come back and the labor market starts recovering, you are ready to plunge in.”
Many economists, including Berger, believe jobs will start to bounce back relatively quickly once the pandemic is under control.