Amid pandemic, 25% of Charlotteans say their jobs aren’t secure

Amid pandemic, 25% of Charlotteans say their jobs aren’t secure
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The coronavirus pandemic and mandatory stay at home order has shaken every industry, leading to a dramatic increase of lay offs.

Last week the Agenda surveyed over 4,000 subscribers about life during the coronavirus outbreak. Some of the questions focused on job security and working from home.

By the numbers: We asked respondents, “Do you feel like your job is secure?” Over a thousand respondents, about 25 percent, said no. About 75 percent said yes.

This aligns with skyrocketing unemployment claims. From mid-March, when businesses started to shut down, through April 9, North Carolina’s unemployment office saw the number of claims surge to over 500,000.

Normally, the state unemployment office handles only about 3,000 new claims per week.

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Governor Roy Cooper’s March 17 executive order implemented a few measures to relax the usual unemployment requirements. Still, the earliest applicants can get benefits is about two weeks after filing.

[Related Agenda story: Hundreds of thousands of N.C. residents have filed for unemployment because of coronavirus]

Do you feel like your job is secure?

View Results

Survey says: Employees in almost every industry are feeling insecure about their jobs right now, but a few emerged as the industries Charlotteans are most concerned about.

(1) Hospitality/Service industry: “I work in the restaurant industry. This could close mine and other restaurants permanently.”

(2) Real Estate: “As a Realtor, it is very uncertain time. Making one of your biggest purchases of your life and not being able to walk through it first and not knowing the future economic issues is hard. Especially as unstable as it is now.”

(3) Retail: “I work in retail and don’t know if my company will survive.”

(4) Health care: “I work for business related to health care, and we are already reviewing headcount anticipating lower revenue.”

(5) Events/Professional Sports: “I work for NASCAR, and without races going on, we’ve already taken a 20% pay cut. I fear that if this goes on for more than 5-6 weeks, I will be laid off.”

(6) Nonprofits: “Employed at nonprofit. Never feel totally secure.”

(7) Higher Education: “I work at UNC Charlotte. We have been operating without a budget since July 1, because the General Assembly hasn’t yet passed one. So now this. I foresee severe budget times ahead for state higher ed.”

Even essential employees said they felt unsure about the future.

One said, “Although I’m classified as an essential employee, I would not be surprised if restrictions tighten to lose my job.”

Others looked to the past to gauge their current confidence level, “I lost a job that felt relatively secure during the 2008 recession so I’m now hyper-aware that anything can happen in a bad economy.”

Small business owners had concerns too. “I own my biz. However, I don’t know whether I’ll have a biz to go back to,” one respondent said.

A sentiment mirrored by freelancers and independent contractors. They responded with statements like, “a lot of my work has dried up” and “all my jobs have disappeared.”

Positive notes: Government employees, information technology workers, those in finance at “big banks,” and K-12 teachers were most confident about keeping their jobs.

One said, “I work in IT and my CEO personally called me to make sure I knew that I was written into every scenario plan he has written out. It made me feel really good to know how valued I am.”

Some respondents who were out of work felt positive about weathering the storm.

One said, “The world is full of change, and that will always be consistent so get used to it people! Adaptation, resilience, ability to bounce back, are all key in being successful.”

There’s hope: Some companies are still hiring. Multiple grocery, drug, and convenience stores have ramped up hiring as they face higher demand.

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