How COVID-19 Has Affected the American Working Class (Plus Tips on Making Ends Meet)

As the threat of the New Coronavirus (COVID-19) worsens, the population is put on quarantine, and companies have temporarily shut down, instructing their employees to either work from home or not work at all, the latter specifically for those in the travel and hospitality industry, who were most affected by the pandemic.

This is highly devastating for the 80% of Americans living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and to the households who reported that it would be difficult for them to cover an unexpected $400 expense. Moreover, in California alone, 6.9 million don’t have enough to cover their basic needs, and another 7.2 million are just above the poverty threshold. 

How can these people live through losing shifts and being laid off? Thankfully, even with this pandemic, there are still job openings in well-known temporary work agencies and other companies waiting to be filled in. So if you’re also looking for ways to make ends meet or to have additional income during this challenging period, see your options below.

A 3.3x Increase in Job Openings

According to Glassdoor’s recent research, there has been a 3.3x surge in job openings in the country as of March 7, 2020. The top five states for openings are California, Washington, Georgia, Maryland, and New York. 32% of the job openings are from government employers, health care, biotech and pharma, and nonprofit industries. Meanwhile, 34% are from business services firms, which includes recruitment firms and third-party staffing looking for candidates for the industries mentioned as well. 

The top five job openings are for registered nurses, communications associates, social workers, project managers, and technicians. Healthcare workers who can support and respond to emergency cases have the largest share in the increasing job postings.

Amazon to Hire Additional 100,000 Employees

This one is good news for warehouse and delivery workers. Amazon recently disclosed that they’re looking to hire 100,000 additional employees, both part-time and full-time, to make up for their late deliveries and low stock due to the increased online shopping activity. The e-commerce company is encouraging workers that have been laid off to apply for the posts, to help them have a source of income until life goes back to normal again.

Currently, the hourly pay for Amazon warehouse and delivery workers is $15 or more in some areas, but through the end of April, the hourly pay is going to rise by $2.

Additional Tips on Making Ends Meet

If you’re still in the limbo, here are some tips to help you survive financially:

  1. Contact creditors. Ask for hardship concessions, forbearance, or an income-based repayment plan, depending on what applies to you.
  2. Have an emergency budget. Avoid unnecessary expenses for now and focus on your basic needs, such as utilities and food.
  3. Apply for a personal loan. If you have a good credit score, you can borrow $10,000 to over $20,000 on average, with lower interest rates.
  4. Use community and government assistance programs. There are organizations assisting with utility bills and offering food, so search for ones near your area to receive help. You can also donate if you have extra resources.
  5. Avoid cash advances. Even if they’re convenient, they are too costly and are required to be repaid in one lump sum within weeks.
  6. Use your retirement savings. Borrow from your 401(k) to avoid penalties, and repay it within 5 years with interest. Ideally, though, this should be your last resort because of the disadvantages, such as owing taxes and penalties if you fail to repay within 5 years.

As COVID-19 continues to be a threat, it’s still uncertain when daily life will go back to normal. Fortunately, the job market hasn’t completely declined and lenders are open to being considerate. While we work our way out of this pandemic, let’s not forget to practice proper hygiene and other precautionary measures to help stop the spread of the disease.