May 20, 2020

Meet the new jobs of the reopening economy

Contact tracers, temperature checkers, and social distancing monitors are all coming to businesses near you.

On the beach, a volunteer might make sure your sandcastle doesn’t get too close to your neighbor’s.

At your favorite restaurant, a bathroom attendant may watch over the lines for the urinals and stalls, so they don’t get too crowded.

At home, a stranger might call to see if you’ve been exposed.

The coronavirus crisis shuttered businesses nationwide and sent the US unemployment rate soaring to levels not seen since the Great Depression. As the economy reopens, America’s workforce will change — and we’ll see new jobs emerge.

Make way for the contact-tracing army

NPR has been surveying states on their plans for contact tracing. It found that they’ve hired 11k+ tracers so far, with plans to expand those ranks to 66k+. A labor market economist told Bloomberg that contact tracing could create as many as 250k jobs in the US.

The New York Times reported that the market for contact tracers is surprisingly competitive — and doing the job well requires finesse, to develop trust with a stranger after calling them out of the blue.

One caveat: The FTC is warning people not to be too trusting. On Tuesday, it said contact-tracing text scams were on the rise.

Check out the temperature checkers

Among the other occupations coming soon to a help-wanted section near you:

  • Companies of all sizes are hiring workers to check the temperatures of staff and visitors.
  • Retailers are already shifting workers to tasks like monitoring doors and making sure customers comply with social-distancing rules.
  • “Cart sanitizer” is a distinct role some retailers are hiring for — the job is part of a coming cleaning boom.

Silicon Valley jobs are getting weird

Protocol perused the job listings at some of America’s biggest tech companies, and found that things are getting dark: Google, for one, is hiring a “policy enforcement manager” to prevent content violating YouTube’s policies from showing up on the site — “with a focus on suicide and self-harm.”

Tesla is hiring a community relations partner in Fremont, California, the home of its recently embattled factory. To the person who wants that gig, we say: Good luck with that.

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