Job opportunities in NY begin to increase with the new year

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Flazingo Photos | Wikimedia Commons

Farah Javed

New York’s unemployment rate dropped from 12.1% to 11.4% in November 2020. That, however, is still higher than the national rate of 6.7%. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, New York lost over 1 million jobs, but many industries have adapted and are offering both remote and pandemic related jobs.

The job decline remained throughout the pandemic, with 7,500 jobs lost in December. The breakdown of this data from the Department of Labor highlights that the restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit in New York.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo first stopped indoor dining on March 17, 2020, takeout became the new norm. With restaurants losing money and fewer customers ordering food, many staff members, some including bartenders and servers, were let go. As restaurants closed, family businesses closed their doors and larger chains left many unemployed.

However, Cuomo is now taking measures to prevent more bars and restaurants from closing, which would mean a loss of 7 million jobs, according to Bon Appetit.

He proposed “a tax credit of $5,000 per employee, up to a maximum of $50,000, for anyone hired by the end of 2021.”

This incentivization creates a symbiotic system that pushes restaurant owners and managers to hire additional workers they can use as a tax write-off, while allowing more people to put money back into their pockets.

As indoor dining is set to open back up with 25% capacity on Feb. 14, hopes remain that more workers will return to the food industry.

On top of that, New York already sees an increase in job opportunities.

Jay Denton, the senior vice president of business intelligence and chief innovation officer of ThinkWhy, sees a positive trajectory in job growth for the state.

“New York City was one of the most severely impacted locations in 2020 [in terms of layoffs], so it will likely see some of the biggest hiring volumes in 2021,” Denton said.

For instance, companies are hiring workers to help with distributing and administering vaccinations. “CVS, Walgreens and others are hiring more than 50,000 workers nationwide to help with immunization. And while this includes doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, armies of pharmacy technicians will also be hired to help,” according to the New York Post.

For those feeling like they do not have enough experience for the medical sector, some employers are also offering to train people to be “contact tracers, health monitors, temperature takers and workplace re-designers,” the Post added.

Aside from the healthcare industry, technology companies are also looking for remote workers. Accenture, a technology firm, has over 5,000 job openings for all levels of experience. If new to the tech world, the company offers entry-level trainee programs as well. Administrative positions are also available in departments spanning from human resources to finances.

Lowe’s is also hiring more than 50,000 workers for both part-time and full-time work. The company is allocating $80 million toward bonuses for employees. Its advertisement states that “full-time hourly associates will get $300 and part-time and seasonal workers will get $150,” according to ABC7NY.

Some companies are even designing jobs to help financially suffering people. Candy Funhouse, a Canadian candy company, is looking to hire virtual ‘candyologists’ to taste test candy. Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to apply and will receive 60 Canadian dollars an hour, or about $47 an hour.

Though companies are expanding job opportunities, the economy and people are still suffering. Department of Labor data indicates that industries like leisure, hospitality, educational and health services have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs, respectively.

Even Cuomo stated that New York’s economy is not likely to go back to its pre-pandemic way until halfway through this decade, 2025.

Still, there are options available for people waiting or trying to find work.

David Megenhardt, the executive director of the United Labor Agency, expressed that job training programs are vital to bringing people into the job market.

“In the Great Recession there were a lot of people who lost their prime earning years and maybe never returned to the workforce, or reentered well below the wages they were earning in 2008,” he said. “We don’t want to lose a generation of people.”

Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, for instance, specializes in programs to help people take courses and become experts in a given skill. One of their programs allows students to become experts in cable installation for free. The six-week program culminates in landing a job through assisted placement.

Another program offered is the “Made in NY” PA Training Program. Brooklyn Workforce Innovations partnered with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to provide “unemployed and low-income New Yorkers the chance to work on New York sets and build careers in this dynamic field of film and television production,” according to their website.

Many of these programs have moved online due to the pandemic and since they are free, they are also accessible to anyone with a computer to complete from home. These programs can help people gain valuable skills in an industry and help a candidate become more desirable to hiring companies.

Cuomo also announced a green plan that would include constructing wind turbines in the state, thus bringing the opportunity to have 17,000 more jobs.

Essentially, though the economy still needs to undergo a recovery process and COVID-19 still remains an issue, the prospect for jobs is growing with a mix of in-person and virtual opportunities.