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How the most common jobs in America are impacted by COVID-19

  • How the most common jobs in America are impacted by the COVID-19

    The economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has spared practically no one. Amid mass closures and layoffs, by April more than 40% of small businesses say they may have to close for good. Passenger numbers on planes dropped more than 90%, while consumers canceled car maintenance appointments and home repairs. Most of those who lost their jobs in the earliest waves were employees whose jobs could not be done remotely.

    State and local governments have seen hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenues disappear—dollars needed to pay teachers, firefighters, and police; keep trains and buses running; courts in session; roads paved; and parks mowed. Unlike the Great Depression, which crept up over years, the coronavirus blows came quickly—almost overnight for some.

    Many people still on the job are clad head-to-toe in protective gear to limit their risk of exposure. Others in lower-paid jobs, like store clerks, wear thin masks and gloves and hope for the best. Technicians and repair workers are trying to figure out how to make house calls without seeing their customers, and banks are trying to figure out how to arrange complex financial transactions with clients on video screens.

    To see how jobs are being impacted by COVID-19, Stacker compiled a list of the 100 most common jobs in America, using employment data from May 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released in 2020.

    The impacted jobs range from physicians and lawyers to maids and preschool teachers, from dishwashers and truck drivers to welders and hairstylists—none are escaping COVID-19’s wrath.

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  • #100. Amusement and recreation attendants

    - Employment: 338,110
    - Annual mean wage: $24,330 (54.5% below national average)

    With amusement and recreation facilities closed due to the coronavirus lockdowns, unemployment among attendants has been severe. The outlook is grim as well. With high unemployment, people will not have money for amusement and recreation, and the venues may shrink considerably with efforts to practice social distancing.

  • #99. Postal service mail carriers

    - Employment: 339,650
    - Annual mean wage: $52,180 (2.4% below national average)

    The U.S. Postal Service faces a $22 billion loss over the next 18 months due to a severe drop in mail revenue and volume during the COVID-19 outbreak, putting its very existence into question. More than 600,000 mail carriers and postal workers stayed on the job during the outbreak.The postal service has been losing money each year for more than a decade.

  • #98. Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers

    - Employment: 342,040
    - Annual mean wage: $51,420 (3.9% below national average)

    Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are testing no-contact visits, communicating remotely, and asking clients to stay away while the work is performed. But business has dropped as consumers cancel appointments and facilities managers are not maintaining HVAC in empty office buildings.

  • #97. Dental assistants

    - Employment: 351,470
    - Annual mean wage: $41,170 (23% below national average)

    In April, a half million jobs were lost in dentists’ offices as lockdowns took effect in most of the country. Further pressure on jobs in dentistry is likely as demand for services is expected to remain low and Americans avoid unnecessary close contact. Dentists also say the cost of the protective gear they will need—face shields, disposable gowns, and masks—will be expensive.

  • #96. Network and computer systems administrators

    - Employment: 354,450
    - Annual mean wage: $88,410 (65.3% above national average)

    Despite companies potentially cutting positions as they try to rebuild, businesses will need the skills of network and computer systems administrators to help handle the needs of millions of employees who may be working remotely indefinitely. In particular, these administrators could see increased demand for their services in the area of cybersecurity.

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  • #95. Recreation workers

    - Employment: 358,750
    - Annual mean wage: $29,330 (45.2% below national average)

    Recreation workers are often gig workers and contractors unprotected by unemployment insurance. The job market is likely to be depressed with the recreation industry facing closures and a lack of consumer demand.

  • #94. Production, planning, and expediting clerks

    - Employment: 370,380
    - Annual mean wage: $50,640 (5.3% below national average)

    Production, planning, and expediting clerks coordinate and schedule work flow. The heightened demand for online orders being delivered and the ability to work remotely are promising for these jobs, but manufacturing has been hit hard by depressed consumer demand, which could put pressure on available work.


  • #93. Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

    - Employment: 382,670
    - Annual mean wage: $27,940 (47.8% below national average)

    Demand for vehicle and equipment cleaners has plummeted with declines in the auto, travel, and manufacturing sectors. In April, car rental giant Hertz, a huge employer of cleaners, terminated the union and non-union jobs of 10,000 workers in its North American operations.

  • #92. Machinists

    - Employment: 383,470
    - Annual mean wage: $46,120 (13.8% below national average)

    The work of machinists producing precision parts cannot be done remotely, putting them in danger of exposure to the coronavirus. The economic slump puts thousands of machinist jobs in manufacturing, aerospace, defense, and transportation at risk.

  • #91. Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists

    - Employment: 385,960
    - Annual mean wage: $31,530 (41.1% below national average)

    Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists were plunged into joblessness when salons closed and social distancing guidelines were imposed. Many workers in the field are freelance contractors with little financial cushioning and no unemployment benefits. Experts predict post-pandemic salons will work at limited capacity, checking customers’ temperatures, and everyone wearing protective masks. Blow drying would no longer be offered in order to limit the possible spread of disease.

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