By Ryan Micoletti
The fallout of the Coronavirus has begun in the Western Hemisphere, with life as we know it across Europe and North America coming to a halt. With many people fearing the worst and beginning their own self-quarantines, businesses have begun preparing to go weeks, if not months, without work.
Almost a quarter of small business owners say that they will have to downsize in order to stay afloat, especially with the uncertainty of how long this may last (USA Today). As of March 13, over 1,000 jobs were cut nationwide, with others asked to take leaves of absence or intense pay cuts. This issue is most notable in the dining and lodging industries, where waiters and hotel workers are taking the biggest hit. Restaurants have begun restricting dining areas and offering takeout and delivery only, eliminating the need for a number of employees who don’t know when they will be able to go back to work.
Airlines have begun offering low ticket fares, intriguing customers to jump at the lowest prices in years. However, it came to a quick halt since President Trump’s announcement of the European travel ban on March 12th. Many providers have announced that almost half of employment have either already been eliminated or will be in the next few weeks (USA Today). The ban was originally planned to last for 30 days but has since been projected to last longer.
The entertainment industry came to a quick stop that week as well, with all major sports either cancelling or delaying upcoming events. The NBA was the first to hit after several players have tested positive for the Coronavirus. They will be suspending the season indefinitely with the playoffs scheduled to begin in less than a month, leaving owner Adam Silver estimating a $2
billion drop in revenues for the rest of the season. Players and organizations were quick to act upon hearing the news, offering arena workers for all 30 teams their full payment for time missed. This response was quickly followed by the NHL suspending their season and the MLB delaying opening day, which was originally planned for the last week of March. Both men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments, the NCAA’s biggest events of the year, were cancelled, with the tournaments estimated to bring in $850 million in marketing alone (ESPN).
With many people out of work and less money being spent, the American stock market has reached its lowest point since the 2008 Recession. The Dow Jones has dropped almost 10,000 points in the last 30 days, and the New York Stock Exchange will be closing its trading floor amid the pandemic (CNN). Most Fortune 500 companies find themselves hitting all-time lows, and it sure seems that this will continue to go down before it has any chance of returning.
While a number of companies must lay off workers or reduce hours, Amazon has pledged to hire an additional 100,000 workers and to temporarily raise their minimum wage to $17/hour (USA Today). With loads of customers flocking into retailers, mostly grocery stores, to stock up on supplies, Aldi has also said that they will be hiring temporary workers, ranging from checkout counters to warehouses.
While some markets have struggled in this time more than others, it is only a matter of time until all will be affected. The newest time estimate for returning to normalcy is looking to be around July or August. While it must get worse before it gets better, we can expect to see more companies deescalating business in the near future.