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Tim Duy

This Silent Job Killer Is an Underrated Threat to the Economy

Refraining from hiring workers can be more devastating than laying them off.

The labor market is suffering. 

The labor market is suffering. 

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With all the focus on the surge in U.S. layoffs, it’s easy to forget that there’s a silent job killer lurking in the background. Hiring freezes such as that reported by American Express Co. mean that the take-up of workers is falling rapidly. How quickly companies ramp hiring back up will be a large factor in the strength of the recovery.

The historic levels of initial unemployment claims illustrates the human consequences of a sudden stop of economic activity. Whole sectors of the economy have simultaneously shut, throwing millions out of a job. The leisure and hospitality industry along with non-food retailers have been especially hard hit.