Corinna Petry headshot
BY corinna petry

t is really eye opening to track how many jobs have been lost as a result of the pandemic, and how varied they are. Some business sectors are very obvious, and some are not. Airlines, sure—but also in-flight meal providers, aviation mechanics and companies that make jet bridges. Hotels, resorts and casinos but also linen suppliers and janitorial services. Restaurants but also breweries, wineries, caterers and commercial bakeries.

Film and stage theaters, museums and entertainment venues (think Legoland, horse racing, Dollywood and the Harlem Globetrotters)—but also Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, parking garages and taxicab companies. Professional sports stadiums went quiet, so each support industry for that sector stopped work, too. My goodness, how did we live without pro sports for that long?

Office management firms, corporate and retail security, courier/messenger services, office supplies. Companies that fill the snack food vending machine or water live plants in the office tower lobby. Calls for advertising and marketing services slipped.

Car dealerships and car rental agencies faltered but so did makers of aftermarket parts. Convention centers, event planners, the tourism and recreation industries—specific examples include, steamboat and cable car operators, golf courses, campgrounds, yacht and jet ski manufacturers.

Clothiers, shoemakers and cosmetics companies. Who is renting a tuxedo these days? Fitness and tennis clubs, yoga and martial arts studios, weight loss centers, YMCAs, salons and day spas.

Public and private educators from preschool through graduate school were affected but also HeadStart, textbook publishing and school bus operators. Consumer lending and commercial finance companies but also collection agencies.

People out of work who lost health insurance benefits are putting off getting their teeth cleaned or new glasses or physical therapy. Dental labs, optical shops and dermatology practices have closed. Massive layoffs occurred in every facet of health care, including hospitals.

Steel mills but also coal mining, coke plants and scrapyards experienced idling. Just about every industry trimmed inventories, meaning less warehouse space is required. Some port terminals closed because U.S. exports of goods, measured in dollars, dropped 16.5 percent through July. Imports fell 12.3 percent.

Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 17, Georgia alone recorded layoff notices affecting 40,916 people. That is only the notices mandated under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act. A limited number of employers nationwide are required to provide such notices to state labor departments.

As infection rates have fluctuated, bars, restaurants and beauty salons opened and closed, college dorms opened and closed, college football teams played and then quarantined, pro baseball teams played and then quarantined. None of that is good for a stable business environment. The metals industry, although essential, underwent waves of layoffs this year, and capacity at most plants was very much underutilized, in response to falling demand.

Longer term, the supply chain is looking for bright spots, such as gradually improving light vehicle sales, an increase in airline passenger miles or a surge in construction activity. Our annual OEM forecasts begin on Page 20. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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