STAFFING DURING COVID-19: WHERE ARE ALL THE APPLICANTS?

Jun 22, 2020

As a result of COVID-19, we’ve seen a record number of unemployment claims, longer
lines at food pantries, and businesses either remaining closed or only partially open. With so many people out of work and the layoffs occurring so abruptly back in March, one may think our offices have been inundated with a pool of new job seekers ever since.

However, that really has not been the case and QPS is not alone in that regard. There
seems to have been a significant impact on labor participation as a result of enhanced
unemployment benefits provided through the CARES Act.

  • Standard unemployment benefits were extended to 39 weeks
  • In addition to unemployment, there is also an extra $600 per week through July
    31st
  • Current conditions have softened many states’ stances on the requirement to
    search for work
  • The labor participation rate fell from 63.4% in January to 60.2% in the most recent
    April survey

According to Wall Street Journal data, almost half of all employees will make more on
unemployment than their prior job. Estimates are that workers in 10 common fields are
earning 34% more than they made before and 20% earn double what they made while
working.

In addition to those benefits, there are also no childcare expenses incurred by staying at
home, no commuting costs, and no exposure to the coronavirus itself. With all of these
factors, staying home has been the more popular choice for many of the estimated 36
million newly unemployed Americans.

Our internal data also shows that since February:

  • Turnover has increased by 17%
  • Ghosting or no-showing on the first day has increased from 4.1% to 5.7%

As businesses slowly reopen, some of those unemployed will be needed back
causing at least more short term competition for those workers. What will happen
after July 31st when the benefit enhancements end remains to be seen. Regardless of
the actual unemployment rate, recruiting is always a priority for us. We work hard to be
an employer of choice for our workers and we have a number of resources to help the
clients we work with do the same.

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