Pandemic Creates New Job Opportunities for Workers As States Begin Reopening

06 May, 2020 Chriss Swaney


Sarasota, FL ( - States are rushing to hire thousands of new workers to become contact tracing detectives, a powerful public health tool designed to interview every person a virus victim was in close contact with.  “I’m not surprised that the virus is creating new jobs as more people learn to reinvent themselves,’’ said Eugene Ney, an adjunct lecturer in business management at Carlow University.  “The news of hiring is encouraging as it may soak up the large number of people who have lost jobs at shopping malls, airlines, hotels and restaurants.’’ 

Ney said grocery stores are hiring people to wipe down shopping carts and many small businesses like craft brewers are converting production lines to make hand sanitizers.  The Amish in Volant, Pa. have shifted from making quilts to making face masks for men women and children.

Massachusetts is leading the job creation charge by hiring and training more than 1,000 people who will call everyone who tests positive. The state is partnering with Boston-based nonprofit Partner in Health in an effort to reach everyone in the state who may have the coronavirus and get them tested and into isolation if needed. And New York is planning to hire 6,400 to 17,000 contact tracing detectives.

“As this pandemic unfolds we will see more and more new jobs developed to meet the crisis in a variety of sectors,’’ said Ney.  

Grocery and pharmacy chains, pizza deliveries and instore shoppers, such as Instacart, are hiring. Instacart, the on-demand supermarket delivery startup, plans to hire 300,000 full-time shoppers.  Grocery chains Walmart and Kroger have been aggressively hiring as people raid the stores to stock up on supplies, panicking that there may be future shortages in paper products and meat.

Walmart, for example, announced its plan to hire about 150,000 new workers for warehouses and stores to manage increased demands. CVS also reported it will hire 50,000 full and part-time workers around the country.  Dollar Tree is hiring 25,000 workers and Dominos and Kroger plan to increase staff by 10,000.

U.S. Commerce officials report any job creation would be helpful as the economy continues to shrink with a staggering 30 million unemployed.  Another 3.8 million people filed claims for jobless benefits last week, according to the Labor Department.

In addition to lost jobs, the other troubling problem with the virus is the modeling being used.  “I do think they don’t have enough data for the pandemic models,’’ said Ericka Mochan, program director for the new Data Analytics Program and assistant professor of mathematics at Carlow University.  “I do modeling of influenza but will probably be doing more with the coronavirus now,’’ she said.

As the pandemic modeling debate rages, workers nationwide admonish local leaders to reopen the economy.

Ginny Rush, a hairdresser from Claysville, Penn., now working as a part-time  grocery clerk, says her business may never reopen.  “I’m barely making it, ‘’ Rush said.  And John O’Rourke, owner of a dog grooming boutique from his home in Ligonier, Penn., said he has been waiting for a small business loan for 8 weeks.  “Workers and business owners need to unite and demand immediate changes in small business support and unemployment benefits,’’ he said.  


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    About The Author

    • Chriss Swaney

      Chriss Swaney is a freelance reporter who has written for Antique Trader Magazine, Reuters, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, the Burlington Free Press, UPI, The Tribune-Review and the Daily Record.

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