As most economists expected, the coronavirus pandemic has feed a wave of layoffs across numerous business sectors the past several weeks.
As of April 24, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s website listed several dozen Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notices filed between March and April, showing hundreds of layoffs or furloughs by a range of industries including manufacturers, retailers, casinos, restaurants and hotels, most citing the pandemic and stay-in-place orders as the reason for the workforce adjustments.
Among the companies announcing layoffs was steelmaker ArcelorMittal. In state filings between April 13 and April 19, the company said it would temporarily lay off 301 workers, spread across locations in Burns Harbor and East Chicago.
ArcelorMittal expected the layoffs to last no longer than six months.
“Our customers and their customers have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and the collective national response required to contain it,” the company said in a statement. “Therefore, we also must adapt our production and cost structures to match our customers demand in these challenging market conditions.”
Indiana’s unemployment rate in March was 3.2%, up 0.1% from February. However, experts have said this number could rise, possibly as high as 10.5% by late spring, because of layoffs and furloughs fed by the pandemic.
U.S. jobless rate in March was 4.4%, up from 3.5% in February.