Nearly one third of people that have gone back to work after being laid off during the coronavirus pandemic have lost their jobs again, study finds
By: Carmen Reinicke
- As many as 31% of workers who were initially added back to payrolls after COVID-19 layoffs have been laid off again, a study from Cornell University showed.
- In addition, another 26% that have returned to work have been told by employers that they’re at risk of another layoff or furlough, according to the study.
- That’s “a remarkably high number of people who were reemployed by businesses that may not be able to afford to keep them on,” Daniel Alpert, Cornell Law School senior fellow and adjunct professor, told Business Insider.
A second wave of coronavirus layoffs is happening, even for workers who have returned to their jobs after losing them when coronavirus first hit the economy.
As many as 31% of workers who went back to work after being initially laid off or furloughed in the first wave of COVID-19 job losses have been laid off a second time, according to a survey conducted by Cornell University and the US Private Sector Job Quality Index released Tuesday.
An additional 26% of those still on payrolls have been warned by their employers that they may be laid off again, according to the survey. That means roughly 3 out of 5 workers who went back to jobs have either been let go again or told they may be laid off soon.
That’s “a remarkably high number of people who were reemployed by businesses that may not be able to afford to keep them on,” Daniel Alpert, Cornell Law School senior fellow and adjunct professor, told Business Insider.
The real-time survey was conducted between July 23 and August 1, and was developed to gauge if US employees are vulnerable to businesses failures after nearly all the aid extended to small and medium businesses by the CARES Act has been exhausted. The study found that the second-wave layoffs were actually higher in states that were not experiencing new spikes in COVID-19 cases.
“What that is telling us is that this is not an issue of the virus expanding around the country. It’s not an issue of hotspots expanding,” said Alpert. “It’s an issue that is systemic and related to the CARES Act and PPP issue itself —the fact that it was limited to eight weeks of wages.”
Beyond layoffs, the survey found that 37% of Americans employed by third-party employers, meaning not self-employed, have been laid off or furloughed since March. A majority of 57% said that they had been put back on payroll since halting work in March, according to the study.
But returning to payrolls didn’t mean returning to work for all, the study found. As many as 39% of those put back on payroll reported that they were asked not to return to work, even though they were being paid.
If the government doesn’t extend further aid to unemployed workers and businesses hit by the pandemic, it will “deepen the severity and extend the duration of this crisis,” said Alpert.