John O’Connor

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, more workers are being forced to accept pay cuts or furloughs. That is, if they are not being let go altogether.

Our nation lost an alarming 701,000 jobs in March. The downturn ended a decade-long streak of uninterrupted growth. It also spiked the nation’s unemployment rate to 4.4% from 3.5%, according to the Labor Department.

For all this, we can thank COVID-19. It’s becoming a game changer in the worst possible way, as businesses nationwide are being forced to restrict operations or shut down.

As anyone who has lost a job will tell you, it’s not much fun. Options for fun vaporize. Bills can go unpaid. Healthcare coverage can be lost. A sense of purpose can be taken away.

There’s really not much good that can be said about the massive job losses we are now experiencing. Except maybe this: They might create a great hiring opportunity for your organization.

It’s no secret that finding and keeping qualified workers is among the top challenges facing long-term care operators today. Frankly, one of the reasons for this headache has been the incredibly low unemployment rates our nation has enjoyed in recent years.

Up until this month, it could be said with confidence that anyone looking for a job could find one. But that statement is suddenly on shaky ground.

Because of COVID-19, long-term care facilities are soon going to have more qualified job applicants to consider than they have seen in years. Some operators may even have to reject imminently qualified applicants. Imagine that.

To be sure, the reason for the improved employment outlook (at least from an operator’s perspective) is fairly bleak. But as the saying goes, any port in a storm.

Most of us have never seen a storm like this in our lifetimes. Given that reality, most operators will gladly accept any breaks that come along. Even if the reason behind them is hardly worth celebrating.

John O’Connor is Editorial Director for McKnight’s