Building it Better Together: Where are the jobs?

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The global COVID-19 outbreak has imploded the job market, leaving 1.6 million people unemployed in Pennsylvania alone.

That includes Chris Sykes, who went from working in a restaurant to full-time job hunter.

"So far my search has not turned up anything, and I can imagine that's the same for a lot of people," he said.

Experts are still uncertain how the job market will emerge in the months ahead.

Unemployment in the Keystone State was at a record below with just 40,000 unemployment claims filed three weeks before the pandemic.

'We went from record low unemployment to numbers that we have never seen before," said Jerry Oleksiak, the Secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry.

The latest data provided by the Department of Labor and Industry show in March that retail, transportation, construction, hospitality and leisure were hit hardest.

Later this week, contractors will be back on the job as Governor Tom Wolf allows construction to resume with restrictions.

But experts say those who worked jobs in industries including hotels, restaurants, and brick and mortar retail have a long road ahead.

"It's going to be a struggle... it really is."

Ginger Kochmer, the CEO of job placement company Clutch, said companies are hiring right now but you may have to adjust to meet the new job demands.

"There are pockets of different types of industries that have to ramp up," she said. "So there just has to be a shift in people's different thought processes to see where those opportunities are to find work."

Kochmer said pharmaceutical jobs, fast food establishments, and companies of convenience that employee food delivery like InstaCart are hiring.

She said GoPuff is also adding to its working force.

"The Amazons of the world, the Fed Ex's of the world, those organizations are looking to hire upwards of hundreds of thousands of people across the country."

Still, jobs are limited across the board.

An Action News data analysis found job listings by online sites Monster and Indeed are down more than 40% in the Tri-State area.

Kochmer says her company is now using social media and job boards like and to post positions.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor has also made a job board that is free to search.

Many companies simply can't afford the cost of job listing sites like Monster.

She also stressed more companies will look for temporary hires rather than full-time employees during these uncertain times.

"Organizations like ours really help those companies to be able to build back their payroll, and benefits and back office," she added.
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