Dr. Gregory DeFreitas, professor of economics, founding director of the Labor Studies degree program, has been interviewed by Newsday about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on unemployment locally and nationally.
In one article: LI companies cut more than 7,600 jobs as pandemic halts business, Professor DeFreitas discussed the layoffs at car dealerships, restaurants, medical offices and other businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While companies that employ 50 or more workers are required to post online layoff notifications, Dr. DeFreitas says that even the latest numbers may be underestimating the current situation.
Earlier in April, he was interviewed by Newsday and asked why the Long Island region has seen historic increases in jobless claims. He said it’s possible the makeup of Long Island’s job market put it in a more precarious spot when non-essential businesses were ordered to close.
“We do have an above average vulnerability in some of the more affected industries,” he said. Industries like construction and manufacturing make up about 12% of the Island’s workforce, while those sectors make up 8% of jobs in the state.
Additionally, wholesale and retail trade jobs – with the exception of grocery and drug stores – make up a larger portion of jobs here than elsewhere in the state.“If you subtract grocery stores and drug stores, retail trade makes up 14% of all jobs, which is above the statewide average of about 10%,” he said. “Those people are mainly out of work.”