Transportation sector is bleeding jobs, more cuts on the way

There has been an uptick in travel in recent weeks, but the airline industry remains largely idled

ByThe Associated Press
May 28, 2020, 10:47 AM
Motorists ride past a mural honoring health care workers during the new coronavirus outbreak in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, May 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Motorists ride past a mural honoring health care workers during the new coronavirus outbreak in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, May 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
The Associated Press

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Thursday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.


IMMOBILIZED: Job cuts in the transportation industry have arrived this week by the thousands. The auto industry has suffered a number of setbacks, including interrupted production do to infection.

— American Airlines will cut its 17,000 management and support staff by 30, about 5,100 jobs. Layoffs may begin in October if enough employees do not take buyout offers.

Executive Vice President Elise Eberwein said in a memo to employees that nearly 39,000 people have signed up for partially paid leave or early retirement, and the airline has extended a buyout offer to administrative staff. Laid-off workers will be paid through Sept. 30 to comply with a no-furloughs provision attached to $5.8 billion in federal aid that American is getting to help cover payroll costs.

— European budget carrier easyJet will cut up to a third of its workforce because of the pandemic. The airline has around 15,000 full-time employees — meaning some 4,500 jobs are at risk. The British carrier resumes limited service on June 15, but estimates that it may take three years to get back to 2019 demand levels.

— Nissan Motor Co. is closing its manufacturing plants in the northeastern Catalonia region in Spain, costing 3,000 jobs. The Industry Ministry in the financially strapped country are asking the Japanese automaker to reconsider. But auto sales globally are in retreat.

GOVERNMENT & CENTRAL BANKS: The U.S. on Thursday reported that job losses since the beginning of the pandemic have reached 41 million. The debate over how to respond has roiled Congress. The economic toll globally will be massive.

— French unemployment claims jumped 22% in April, as 843,000 more people sought work even as the pandemic prevented companies from hiring. The jobless figures don't include 8 million people who received government-funded temporary unemployment in April and are gradually returning to work, the national employment office said.

— Thailand says that 8.4 million people are at risk of losing their jobs this year due to pandemic, with the tourism sector being the most affected. The National Economic and Social Development Council estimated Thursday that the fall in the number of foreign and domestic tourists could mean that 2.5 million people, or 64% of the approximately 3.9 million workers in the tourism sector, could become unemployed. Another 1.5 million, or 25% of the 5.9 million person industrial workforce, could also be laid off. The jobs of 4.4 million people, or 43% of 10.3 million people working in the service sector outside of tourism, are also at risk.

MARKETS: Global markets were mostly higher on Thursday as investors pinned their hopes on an economic rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

SOFT LANDING: Orders have improved “significantly" for the mattress company Tempur-Sealy as online orders surge and some stores are reopened. More people are spending more hours in beds, sometimes working, during the shutdown. Still, Tempur-Sealy expects sales this quarter to be down 30% compared with a year ago.

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