At the port of Los Angeles, 145 drivers have been laid off and others have been sent home without pay as massive ships from China have stopped arriving and work has dried up. At travel agencies in Atlanta and Los Angeles, several workers lost their jobs as bookings evaporate. A stage lighting company in Las Vegas called Christie Lites laid off about 20 workers this week, and a hotel in downtown Seattle is doing away with an entire department, former employees of both said. As many as 50 people lost their jobs after the cancellation of the popular South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
So far, many of the job losses have been concentrated in the travel, tourism, events and trucking industries. Economists fear there could be more layoffs in the coming weeks, as supply chains come to a halt and people stay home and spend less.
“We will definitely see an effect on jobs from the coronavirus, and it could be pretty large in leisure and hospitality,” said Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecruiter. “The first thing we’ll see is a reduction in hours. We hear many reports of employers canceling staff everywhere except in health care.”