Companies that stock and deliver food are on a hiring spree

When you can’t stay home.
When you can’t stay home.
Image: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
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While many sectors of the global economy have stumbled or stalled in the wake of Covid-19, a few are thriving. As people prepare to and continue living in self-imposed isolation, grocery stores and food delivery companies are ramping up their work.

As millions have already lost their jobs—including thousands of restaurant workers—this will be welcome news. Unemployment numbers in the US skyrocketed in the last month, according to the latest jobless report from the US Department of Labor.

To be sure, food retail and delivery won’t come close to making up for all the job losses people are experiencing around the world. But those businesses could provide some extra relief during a turbulent time. In Europe and the UK, grocery chains such as Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, and Sainsbury are ramping up, according to the BBC.

In the US, Instacart, Walmart, and Amazon have each announced they have plans to hire close to half a million people, collectively. Grocery stores and food delivery stalwarts—such as Papa John’s, Domino’s, and Pizza Hut—are also adding people to their rosters, according to media reports.

It may take several months for those positions to go live, and they won’t appear all at once. As of March 27, Whole Foods Market was listing about 1,100 jobs for in-store employees, including an overnight baker in Riverdale Park, Maryland; a night shift employee in Nashville, Tennessee; a part-time cook in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania; and a cashier at a location in South Beach, in Miami.

Kroger has more than 8,000 positions open, according to its website. And Albertsons, which owns Safeway, is currently listing 340 open jobs.

Still, the world is bracing for life after the virus, when nations will likely report sky-high jobless rates as pieces of the global economy collapse. The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s “back of the envelope” estimate for how high unemployment numbers could rise in the US is a jaw-dropping 32.1%—and some of its outlooks are even more pessimistic. The food industry’s ability to cushion the blow will be negligible.