New unemployment claims sank below 700,000 last week for the first time since the pandemic began. At 684,000 total new claims, last week’s low was nearly 100,000 less than the previous week, which saw 781,000 new claims filed.
As the country continues to achieve vaccination milestone after milestone, it does seem that, eventually, things will get back to normal. Or at least something resembling normal. Yet, as companies prepare to bring workers back into the office, it is clear that office work is one thing that employees, by and large, do not want to go back to normal.
The pandemic has undeniably been a boon for third-party food delivery companies. DoorDash, as we described late last year, posted profits for the first time in its history, owing largely to pandemic-fueled deliveries to the suburbs. Similarly, Uber told investors late last year that it too expects to finally hit profitability, likely by the end of 2021, owing largely to—you guessed it—UberEats.
Albertsons, the nation’s third largest grocer, recently announced it is discontinuing its in-house grocery delivery system, replacing thousands of jobs by outsourcing its delivery operations to Instacart.
I’ve always known we were going to get out of this phase of the pandemic, but this week was the first time I actually could see it playing out. Indeed, what has been a distant promise is slowly becoming a tangible future as concrete plans are being laid across the nation for a gradual relaxing of social distancing standards and a reopening of shuttered businesses. While logistics and timetables are going to vary from state-to-state, county-to-county, and even city-to-city, examining California’s recently announced, four-stage reopening plan offers our first real glimpse at what our new normal will look like and how we will get there.