As most businesses have learned this year, a pandemic can really skew projections when it comes to profitability and growth. As such, it’s also changed many hiring and recruitment plans for businesses that had been on target for greater growth pre-pandemic and have since scaled back.

The occupations and industries that grew over the past two quarters happened to be in health care, technology and e-commerce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and sadly, the retail sector job losses were substantial nationwide due to the economic shifts and state and local social distancing requirements.

So what does this mean for staffing projections through the end of the year and into 2021? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “nonfarm payroll employment rose by 661,000 in September, and the unemployment rate declined to 7.9 percent.” Which means things are holding fairly well for the time being.

Depending on the industry, new positions and hiring nationwide remained fairly static in the third quarter although overall, there was a net employment loss of nearly “7.0 million nationwide in the month of August.” And projections for further job elimination is imminent in some industries, although according to the Department of Labor, nationwide unemployment benefit claims have dropped to “10.9 million the first week of October after peaking at nearly 25 million in May.”

With the economic hit many business took in the second and third quarters, even given the Paycheck Protection Program that some small businesses secured, staffing and employment projections are being altered for the fourth quarter of 2020 and into 2021. The most recent Interim Economic Projections provided by the Congressional Budget indicate we may see an” economic rebound with conditions marginally improving in the fourth quarter of 2020.”

The job losses that have occurred and that are likely to remain permanent have been concentrated in many of the service-providing industries, such as retail, entertainment and food service. As business find new ways to rebound or reinvent themselves to stay relevant, they go into the fourth quarter reviewing and approving budgets and staffing needs knowing that the pandemic won’t just end once we flip the calendar for 2021.

According to our JB Consulting Systems recruiter, Kristen DeCoteau, “Some of our staffing clients have been dealing with a slowdown since March with some closures through the summer – which is typically and consistently slower in hiring. But we are steadily getting busier with recruiting.”

Resuming to normal operations may not come as quickly as businesses want and it will certainly have long-term impacts to employment and operations. The persistent nature of the COVID-19 pandemic will certainly dictate the need for hiring new positions and rethinking business strategies.

JB Consulting Systems has HR Consults that are ready to help you with any staffing or restructuring needs you may have, and we aim to be a critical support of your business during these unprecedented times. Contact us at HRhelp for information on how we can help you.