Workers furloughed in the spring are seeing their temporary layoff status become permanent as the coronavirus pandemic deepens across the United States.
In April, roughly 2 in 10 households experiencing job loss considered their layoff permanent, while the remaining majority believed they would return to their former jobs within a few months. Now, as states have stalled or reversed reopening plans and the coronavirus outbreak worsens, nearly half of unemployed workers believe their jobs are not coming back, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Katherine Williams of Waterford, Connecticut, worried her job as a fulfillment lead for Macy’s wouldn’t be restored when she was furloughed in April. Her fears were confirmed in late June when she received a call that her assistant-manager-level position was eliminated.
“I had a gut feeling it was going to happen,” Williams, 40, tells CNBC Make It. In February, prior to the threat of the pandemic, her store was identified as one of the 125 Macy’s locations scheduled to close in the next three years. The department store chain began reopening some locations in May, and Williams noticed she wasn’t called back even after her own store reopened.
At one point, before she was officially laid off, Williams recalls stopping by the store to pick up some items for her family, when she saw some of the associates who used to report to her were back at work.