Jumbo Employers Respond to Unemployment Threats
We’re likely sitting at the highest level of joblessness since the Great Depression. Another 6.6 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims during the first week of April. That follows 3.3 million and 6.9 million in the two previous weeks, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Even if unemployment claims slow, it’s possible that more than 20 million jobs will be lost.
A recent survey of business owners revealed that almost a quarter (24%) plan to downsize if the outbreak worsens. Many businesses will have to scale or shut down operations, but there are notable efforts from the jumbo employer space to financially stabilize their workforce, support small businesses and inject capital into the market. Here’s a snapshot:
CVS plans to hire 50,000 people to fill full-time, part-time, and temporary roles across the country. In addition, the company plans to issues bonuses of $150-$500 to pharmacists and others “on the frontlines” of their business.
Automatic Data Processing (ADP) is providing employees one-time payments (estimated at $51 million) in order to help with the unexpected hardships they are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dollar General is implementing a hiring blitz, nearly doubling its normal hiring rate and adding up to 50,000 employees by the end of April to support its operations.
Amazon is temporarily raising its overtime pay for U.S. warehouse workers. Hourly workers will receive two times more for overtime pay as the company tries to meet the online demand for consumers stuck at home. Jeff Bezos has also invited up to 100,000 laid-off workers to come work for Amazon until they are able to go back to the jobs they held.
Walmart announced that effective immediately through Memorial Day, it is temporarily raising minimum wages in e-commerce warehouses by $2 an hour as it struggles to keep store shelves stocked. In addition, just last week, Target raised wages by $2 an hour until at least May 2 for its hourly workers.
PepsiCo plans to add staff and boost pay. The company also plans to provide benefits to its 90,000 U.S. frontline employees with a minimum increment of $100/week for full-time employees over the next month. In addition, the company plans to hire 6,000 new, full-time, full-benefit frontline employees across the U.S. in the coming months.
JPMorgan Chase joins several other credit card issuers, including Citi, Apple, and American Express in offering assistance to card members who have become financially hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. They all have agreed to waive fees, extend due dates for cards, auto loans and mortgages and/or increase credit lines for consumer and small business customers. In addition, J.P. Morgan announced $1,000 bonus for its front line employees.
Bank of America in a bid to counter the surge in customer service demand due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak is adding 1,700 workers to its consumer division in critical support roles. The bank is also paying an additional $200 per pay period to frontline workers in branches, call centers and operation centers, and enhanced overtime pay, effective immediately. Also announced are several relief measures for small businesses and consumers, including deferred payments on credit cards, auto loans and mortgages, as well as refunds for checking account fees.