The Westfield Voice

The Student News Site of Westfield State University

The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

The Effects of COVID-19 On Student Employment


Some students at Westfield State University have had their jobs and careers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on available jobs and unemployment numbers, as is evident by data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the Bureau, when the pandemic started to have a major impact in Massachusetts in April, the unemployment rate jumped from 2.8 percent to 16.2 percent. Past data shows that the highest it’s ever been in the last ten years was 8.8 percent. 

The unemployment rate reached its peak this past June at a rate of 17.7 percent. It has been decreasing steadily since the summer and is now down to 9.6 percent in Massachusetts, according to the Bureau. However, this is still higher than any other time in the past ten years.

Hannah Chadwick, a senior at Westfield State, was one of many students whose job was affected by the pandemic.

“I worked at the campus TV station and they’re no longer allowing people to be in the building so I’m not working now,” she said.  

Matthew Wilcox, another student at WSU, had a similar experience.

“Usually over the summers I work as a bartender at a theme park but the theme park never opened so I had to end up finding a different job,” he said.

Data from the Bureau also showed that one of the areas most affected by unemployment was retail. This had an even greater impact on students at WSU as many retail workers are in college. 

While Chadwick noted that this didn’t affect her personally, she said, “I’m not surprised but it’s just tough because that’s one job that college kids can get and I can definitely see how that can affect a lot of kids.”

One student, Darby Ryan, was affected by this. 

“I work at Home Depot and it got crazy,” she said. “Some people took their emergency two weeks and it got crazy. I started right before it got bad and my whole department just left.”

Some students are also worried about their job prospects after they graduate. Although Chadwick mentioned that she now has a job lined up for the summer, she noted that the pandemic was a “huge factor” when looking for jobs in March. 

Wilcox also cited this as a factor when conducting his job search.

Data from October is not yet available.

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