As the United States reels from the business closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the number of unemployed is expected to soar to record highs.
Some forecasters are expecting a decline of economic activity at the level of 30-50%. But as most industries tumble, there are a few who are able to use the crisis and the conditions of the pandemic to expand their operations.
These businesses are ones primarily focused on the aspects of the service industry that are still considered essential, delivery methods, and grocery stores that have seen their products flying off the shelves for a month.
The largest expansion is being done by Instacart, the technology company that allows people to order groceries over an app and have them delivered the same day. As fear about the coronavirus has increased, and people have been encouraged to stay home, more and more people are choosing to order food electronically than do their own shopping. Under Instacart’s model, every order is conducted by a “personal shopper” that picks the requested food (with possible substitutions) and delivers it to a person’s door. The company is now set to hire 300,000 full-service shoppers within the next three months in all parts of the country.
“As more people look for immediate, flexible earnings opportunities during this time, we hope that Instacart can be an additional source of income for those looking to earn while also delivering for the communities in which they live,” the company said.
The next largest is Walmart, which is already the biggest employer in the United States. By the end of May, it hopes to add an additional 150,000 workers to supplement its stores and distribution centers. These jobs are meant to be temporary but may become permanent.
Along with not buying their groceries in person, more and more people are choosing to order in, and get hot food delivered. The obvious consequence of this is a boom in the pizza industry. Papa John’s announced that it wants to hire 20,000 new drivers to deliver its pies. Dominos wants another 10,000.
“Our corporate and franchise stores want to make sure they're not only feeding people but also providing an opportunity to those looking for work at this time, especially those in the heavily-impacted restaurant industry,” Dominos CEO Ritch Allison said in a statement.
The big shaker in the market for new hires is Amazon. A similar pattern follows: as people are less willing to go outside and shop themselves, they’re ordering more online. This has caused the price of Amazon deliveries to skyrocket, and they want 100,000 new part-time and full-time workers for their warehouses as the need to move products grows.
Other companies looking to expand include CVS, which has seen its pharmacies become one of the essential businesses during the pandemic, and Dollar General, whose cheap products have satisfied the needs of consumers looking to stock up on essential items. Both businesses want to hire 50,000 people each.
Hunter DeRensis is a senior reporter for the National Interest. Follow him on Twitter @HunterDeRensis.