For a decade the U.S. economy has been steadily drawing people into the workforce. Almost overnight, that machine crashed into reverse.
Government-ordered shutdowns of restaurants and other businesses set off an avalanche of unemployment claims this week mere days after America hit red alert and began bracing for a pandemic. And it’s exposing the systemic importance of a section of the workforce that’s been quietly building through several boom-and-bust cycles.
In Juan Sandoval’s case, that’s left him wondering what will happen to not one but both of his jobs.
Most Tuesdays, Sandoval puts in a six-hour shift at a fried chicken fast food chain in Chicago’s West Loop, and then heads over to Italian Village Restaurants a few miles away for seven hours prepping salads at about $14 an hour.