(CBS News) — Millions of Americansas the coronavirus spreads across the U.S. and wreaks havoc on the economy. But the pandemic is also driving a surge in hiring at businesses seeing an upsurge in demand for their products and services because of the outbreak.
At least 700,000 jobs are open at the moment, according to a tally of big businesses such as Walmart and Amazon that have announced plans to hire. There are also plenty of “gig” economy jobs that are available for delivery workers, tutors, personal assistants and more.
To be sure, the new jobs won’t come close to replacing all the work now being lost, especially in hard-hit sectors like travel, hotels and retail. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicts that unemployment could reach 30% over the next few months — that would exceed the highest jobless rate during the Great Depression, when unemployment hit nearly 25%.
Millions of workers are now scrambling to find new jobs, or at least add some paid work that can cover their bills. Their best bet may be in sectors like retail and health care, where demand is surging as Americans cope with stay-at-home orders
“It’s a tough moment — so many companies have put hiring on hiatus as they try to figure out the fallout of this crisis, so you might want to look at where there is great demand,” said Kathy Kristof, editor of SideHusl, an independent review site for online work platforms like DoorDash and Instacart.
She added, “But at the moment, there are hundreds of thousands of job openings — in some cases, it’s in response to the coronavirus.”
For instance, some food delivery services have instituted so-called contactless delivery, which is in strong demand as consumers avoid personal interaction because of infection fears. Contactless delivery is “about making sure everybody stays safe on all sides,” Kristof said.
While many of these jobs include retail or delivery roles, there are also opportunities for professionals to work from home. Online tutoring could prove to be lucrative work now that millions of children are at home due to school closures. Sites such as LessonFace offer access to online music teachers, while Chelsea International Education is hiring tutors for jobs than can pay as much as $140 an hour.
Instacart: 300,000 hires
Instacart on Monday said it’s hiring 300,000 workers, with CEO Apoorva Mehta writing in a blog post that the “last few weeks have been the busiest in Instacart’s history.” This gig-economy company hires people to shop at grocery stores for its customers, and then deliver groceries to their door.
Workers now receive sick pay, which can be used as paid time off if they are absent due to illness or injury, Mehta wrote. “Additionally, any full-service or in-store shopper can receive up to 14 days of extended pay if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in individual mandatory isolation or quarantine,” he noted.
Hiring will occur across North America, with Instacart expecting to hire 54,000 new shoppers in California and 27,000 new shoppers in New York. But Sidehusl says the pay structure can be “obtuse,” as it’s based on factors like how far its shoppers drive and commissions for each item bought.
Walmart: 150,000 hires
Walmart here.)to keep up with demand from shoppers who are stocking up during the coronavirus pandemic. (Walmart’s hiring website can be found
Walmart said the 150,000 new workers will be employed in its stores, Sam’s Club and fulfillment centers, and that the jobs will be “temporary at first, but we expect many to convert to permanent roles over time.”
Amazon: 100,000 hires
Amazon said itacross the U.S. to keep up with a crush of online orders as the coronavirus spreads and more consumers turn to shopping online.
The online retailer said it will also temporarily raise pay by $2 an hour to about $17 an hour through the end of April for hourly employees, who work at its warehouses, delivery centers and Whole Foods grocery stores. (Amazon’s jobs site can be found here.)
CVS: 50,000 hires
The drugstore chain said on Monday it would hire 50,000 new employees in full-time, part-time and temporary roles. While the company’s full-time workers have always had paid sick leave, it added 24 hours of paid sick leave for part-time workers during the pandemic, it noted. (The CVS job site can be found here.)
Dollar General: 50,000 hires
The low-cost retailer said it plans to hire 50,000 new workers — double its typical hiring rate — by the end of April because of demand from shoppers amid the pandemic. Most of the jobs are likely to be temporary. T
he company said its 16,300 stores are located within five miles of about 75% of the American population. Job applicants can search for jobs near them at this Dollar General site.
Papa John’s: 20,000 hires
The pizza chain said on Monday that it’s hiring 20,000 new workers, adding that “most” applicants who get hired can expect to start the same day. The company has also started contactless delivery to lower the risk to workers.
Papa John’s job site can be found here.
7-Eleven: 20,000 hires
The convenience store chain on Friday said it wants to add 20,000 new employees to keep up with demand, including adding more delivery people for the chain’s 7NOW delivery app, which delivers to more than 30 million U.S. households.
Job hunters can apply here.