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The coronavirus pandemic is driving a second jobs apocalypse

This week, United Airlines warned 36,000 U.S. employees their jobs were at risk, Walgreens cut more than 4,000 jobs, Wells Fargo announced it was preparing thousands of terminations this year, and Levi's axed 700 jobs due to falling sales.

Why it matters: We have entered round two of the jobs apocalypse. Those announcements followed similar ones from the Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Choice hotels, which all have announced thousands of job cuts, and the bankruptcies of more major U.S. companies like 24 Hour Fitness, Brooks Brothers and Chuck E. Cheese in recent days.


  • While round one was a swift reckoning that left 20.5 million Americans without a job after one month, part two will be a slow burn that sees millions more jobs lost as some businesses reduce headcounts and others shut down for good.
  • In the first half of 2020, more than 3,600 companies filed for bankruptcy, according to legal services provider Epiq. Just over 600 filed in June, up 43% from June 2019.

How it works: The initial jobs apocalypse was due to the mandated and temporary closures of businesses across the country in an attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Part two is the fallout from the decline in consumption that resulted and will likely include the wreckage from wide-ranging business closures and a reckoning for white collar jobs, experts say.

The intrigue: "What we’re seeing in the numbers so far is more an outcome of the cumulative negative effect of March, April and May than anything worsening with the pandemic in the last few weeks," Wendy Edelberg, director of the Hamilton Project and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, tells Axios.

  • "The numbers are probably going to get worse."

What's next: "The pickup in COVID is going to increase uncertainty and make people cut back on spending, but ... even without that pickup in the pandemic, the economic weakness will lead to layoffs and failures from businesses that are only being indirectly hurt" by the pandemic, says Edelberg, who was previously chief economist at the Congressional Budget Office.

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Driving the news: A second Trump administration would supercharge efforts by certain states, countries and companies to address global warming. But some wildcards could have a greener tinge.

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The swing states where the pandemic is raging

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, The Cook Political Report; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Several states that are likely to decide which party controls Washington next year have exceptionally large coronavirus outbreaks or are seeing cases spike.

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Tropical Storm Zeta may strengthen into hurricane before reaching U.S.

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Of note: Zeta is the 27th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season — equaling a record set in 2005.

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Rockefeller Foundation commits $1 billion for COVID-19 recovery

The Rockefeller Foundation announced on Monday that it will allocate $1 billion over the next three years to address the pandemic and its aftermath.

Why it matters: The mishandled pandemic and the effects of climate change threaten to reverse global progress and push more than 100 million people into poverty around the world. Governments and big NGOs need to ensure that the COVID-19 recovery reaches everyone who needs it.

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How Amy Coney Barrett will make an immediate impact on the Supreme Court

In her first week on the job,Amy Coney Barrett may be deciding which votes to count in the presidential election. By her third week, she’ll be deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Where it stands: The Senate votes on Barrett’s nomination tomorrow. If she’s confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to swear her in at the Supreme Court within hours, an administration official tells Axios.

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