Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft still have thousands of job postings. But some startups are struggling.
Cecilia Ng and her husband were returning to San Francisco in March, after a vacation to celebrate her 40th birthday, when murmurs of layoffs began getting louder. A recruiter at Sonder, an apartment rental startup, Ng already had a sense that the job market around America was getting more precarious by the day as the economic catastrophe brought on by was becoming clearer.
Before she left on what would be a two-week getaway in Colombia, spent eating seafood, exploring the convent-turned-hotel where she was staying and doing some beach reading about meditation and Buddhism, her managers at Sonder had been offering employees reassurance.
But within 24 hours of returning home, Ng was out of a job, along with about 400 other furloughed and laid-off colleagues. She had two weeks severance, medical benefits until the end of the month and a couple of hours to remove any personal files from her work laptop before she was locked out.
“Because they communicated throughout the day, they asked us not to communicate with colleagues,” Ng said. The call during which her boss let her go took 10 minutes.
Ng wasn’t alone. More than 33 million people have applied for initial unemployment claims in the past seven weeks, an economic crisis spurred by efforts to contain the coronavirus, which has infected more than 3.7 million people and taken the lives of over 264,000 patients around the globe.