Companies See COVID-19 Furloughs Becoming Permanent


Some big companies that trimmed payrolls in recent months as what were billed at the time as emergency responses to COVID-19 are making the job cuts permanent, CNBC reports.

Among companies the news outlet cited are transportation company C.H. Robinson, which is making half its furloughs permanent layoffs; Mohawk Industries, which made permanent cuts of a level CNBC didn't detail; Textron; Stanley Black & Decker; and Spirit AeroSystems.

And that list doesn’t include the devastated retail sector. While long-term staffing plans are unclear, the industry saw more than 1 million furloughs by the first week in April.

As hard as the news is for affected workers and their families, at least one survey suggests few will be surprised if their temporary furloughs become permanent layoffs.

University of Chicago researchers found that half of Americans wouldn’t be surprised to find their furloughs made permanent — up from about 20 percent early in the pandemic.

A separate survey, released in late July by  NORC at the University of Chicago — formerly the National Opinion Research Center — found that Americans by a margin of about 3 to 1 think it’s more important for local governments to protect citizens from the health impacts of COVID-19 than from its economic effects.

Inside Higher Ed reported in April that colleges and universities — a sector often immune from cyclical layoffs — are making widespread job cuts as doubts mount about revenue even as new costs related to COVID-19 emerge.

And now U.S. News & World Report states that the trend only seems to be gathering steam as institutions also grapple with student interest in studying online.

Among the hardest-hit industries since early in the coronavirus pandemic has been travel. CBS News reported last week that 80,000 workers in the airline industry face furloughs. CBS reported that Delta Airlines, for example, was operating with 20 percent fewer employees than usual last week due to furloughs.

Britain's Guardian reported Tuesday (Aug. 11) that the next wave of cuts may be among municipal workers as cities and towns grapple with major disruptions in revenue.



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