Big Business Is Going Small Again, More Layoffs Coming

The US is adding about 90,000 newly confirmed cases of Covid 19 to the ranks daily. Just as many businesses were recovering from one of the most challenging years and were just beginning to return workers to the office, here comes another wave of virus aiming right for the company’s bottom line.

A survey by The Conference Board of 330 companies finds 57% plan on restricting new hires to essential personnel only in the coming months. 31% will defer bonuses and raises. 29% anticipate permanent layoffs.

El Paso is hard hit currently, and so far Houston isn’t feeling the same pressures as far west Texas, according to Keith Wolf, Managing Director of Murray Resources. “Over the last several months, September, October and November, we have seen hiring - not at the level of 2019 - but it’s a lot closer than I think a lot of people thought it would be.”

The industries that were hit hardest in March of this year, restaurants, hotels, travel, sports, concerts, many of those businesses that hire younger employees at lower rates, are likely to take another wallop, and furloughed workers that have gone without paychecks for months and run out of unemployment will feel an even worse squeeze.

In Houston, one of the industries hit hardest has been oil and gas, by forces beyond a pandemic, and Wolf says among the fields still hiring, that’s one area that’s not. “We’re getting a lot of calls still from technology companies, medical device companies, manufacturing, professional services companies, but we’re not getting the calls from the traditional oil and gas companies like we were in 2019.”

Optimistic companies furloughed workers in March. Most have lost optimism with no end in sight to the pandemic.

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