• COVID
It's going to take more than a single semester to obtain enough OR knowledge to be hirable. Also, some OR is analytics, but a lot is operations.

Given what you are seeing, what would be your number one advice for those fresh out of school who have studied a quantitative field (e.g. math, statistics, operations research, physics, etc.) to maximize the chance of landing employment?

atyy
Gold Member
As a student in Germany Covid-19 tried to destroy my whole life.Not in a medical manner but in a financial manner.The government forgotten to fund students who mostly lost their jobs or at least the opportunities to earn money to survive.As a consequence i couldn't pay the semester payments to the university .So I has been removed from he university's register.This was very painful for me.The whole work for nothing .But I found some people who helped me a lot .So,yesterday my student account has been reactivate.Believe me, i am very glad about it.

Sadly,there are much more painful situations which happened to other peoples with no happy end.I wish them all the best !

member 587159 and atyy
Gold Member
Companies are so cruel laying off workers I know they are not a charity but they could be give a helping hand to some people.
The great thing about capitalism, is if one is unhappy about how other parties are doing it, one is free to form one's own business and do it more to one's liking without being bossed around by others regarding how you should be doing it.

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If a company is more loyal to me during a tough time, I hope it is because I've given them an expectation that my real value makes that loyalty a good long term decision. If they use the tough time as an opportunity to prune off some of the slackers (and every company has slackers), then I regard that as a wise choice.

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Mark44 and russ_watters
The great thing about capitalism, is if one is unhappy about how other parties are doing it, one is free to form one's own business and do it more to one's liking without being bossed around by others regarding how you should be doing it.

[political content deleted by mod]

If a company is more loyal to me during a tough time, I hope it is because I've given them an expectation that my real value makes that loyalty a good long term decision. If they use the tough time as an opportunity to prune off some of the slackers (and every company has slackers), then I regard that as a wise choice.

@Dr. Courtney , you do make it sound as if forming one's own business is such an easy endeavour. But keep in mind that setting up such a business requires many resources which are simply not available to many people, especially in the middle of the current pandemic (e.g. capital, credit, equipment,etc.). And many people may not have the skills necessary to set up such a business.

[political content deleted by mod]

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Locrian
Given what you are seeing, what would be your number one advice for those fresh out of school who have studied a quantitative field (e.g. math, statistics, operations research, physics, etc.) to maximize the chance of landing employment?

Make the best of the time, and play the long game. In normal times a 2 - 6 month gap after graduation can garner questions; for this graduating class, it may even be typical. So justifying why one wasn't employed won't be as important as listing some good things one did with the time.

Like contributing to open source code, taking Udemy or real college classes, learning a new language (programming or linguistic!), etc.

Mentor
I've deleted a lot of political comment, but there is some factual reality worth making clear, because there's some just really badly wrong ideas about how businesses work floating around these days (not just here; in the news, reddit, my facebook feed, etc):
Companies are so cruel laying off workers I know they are not a charity but they could be give a helping hand to some people.
There is no issue of cruelty/generosity here. Most businesses don't have a ready-store of available cash to just keep paying people if the company's income suddenly drops to zero, like it has for many of the businesses that have been hit hard in the current crisis (restaurants, gyms, etc). Owners of such businesses aren't rich, and many struggle to maintain a middle-class lifestyle while the business hovers on the edge of viability.

If a small family restaurant averages 5 people working at a time (not all together) for a 16 hour day, at an average of $15 an hour including the chef and manager, that's$1200 a day or $36,000 a month ($72,000 over a two-month shutdown). That's money that would come right out of the owner's personal savings in addition to the loss from having the business closed (still paying rent and utilities). That's a lot to ask a middle-class small-business owner to pay and it's just not right to call them "cruel" for being unwilling or literally unable to pay it.
The great thing about capitalism, is if one is unhappy about how other parties are doing it, one is free to form one's own business and do it more to one's liking without being bossed around by others regarding how you should be doing it...

If a company is more loyal to me during a tough time, I hope it is because I've given them an expectation that my real value makes that loyalty a good long term decision. If they use the tough time as an opportunity to prune off some of the slackers (and every company has slackers), then I regard that as a wise choice.
@Dr. Courtney , you do make it sound as if forming one's own business is such an easy endeavour. But keep in mind that setting up such a business requires many resources which are simply not available to many people, especially in the middle of the current pandemic (e.g. capital, credit, equipment,etc.). And many people may not have the skills necessary to set up such a business...
It's certainly true that the middle of a shutdown/crisis is not a good time to start a business, but the big picture point is valid and I don't think well understood. In the US anyway, small businesses (those with <500 employees) employ just under half of the people in the country and most of them are started by non-rich individuals who chose to take the risk. Nobody would ever say it is easy, so there's no need for the hyperbole on that end, but it is common enough that it shouldn't be considered so onerous of a challenge that it is unachievable for most people.

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Staff Emeritus
Most businesses don't have a ready-store of available cash to just keep paying people if the company's income suddenly drops to zero

I agree. And while some of that lost income will come back, a lot of it won't. Nobody is going to get two haircuts the day the barber shops can reopen.

russ_watters
Locrian
Back in the mid 19th century insurance companies were transitory bugs that appeared, scooped up premium, then went bankrupt as soon as significant claims needed to be paid out. There was a response to this: the development of actuarial methods to calculate future claims amounts and hard requirements from government that insurance companies set aside reserves to ensure they can pay those claims.

This has paid off. Large insurance company failures are rare. Insurance companies weathered the 2008 financial crisis comfortably* and have continued to be rocks in the financial markets since.

Requiring that businesses have cash reserves for unexpected events would be a hassle, and is certainly politically a no-go. But in my dreams we would do exactly that.

*Note that AIG, an insurance company and the first and most immediate source of the financial disruption, was financially stable in every line of business except the one that did not require (meaningful) financial reserves. Note also that the value of prudence didn't just apply to insurance companies; Bear Stearns had no real cash reserves and sank. Goldman Sachs had been stocking up on cash for some time and is still with us.

Staff Emeritus
How does the hypothetical barber above start his business if he needs to have cash reserves of 3-6 months worth of income on hand?

Locrian
A barber must have some cash on hand to start a business, as they'll have expenses to pay immediately, and probably some up front. I'm suggesting they should have more.

Staff Emeritus
Otherwise what? They don't start a business? Remember, 50% of businesses fail.

Mentor
Back in the mid 19th century insurance companies were transitory bugs that appeared, scooped up premium, then went bankrupt as soon as significant claims needed to be paid out. There was a response to this: the development of actuarial methods to calculate future claims amounts and hard requirements from government that insurance companies set aside reserves to ensure they can pay those claims.

This has paid off. Large insurance company failures are rare. Insurance companies weathered the 2008 financial crisis comfortably* and have continued to be rocks in the financial markets since.

Requiring that businesses have cash reserves for unexpected events would be a hassle, and is certainly politically a no-go. But in my dreams we would do exactly that.
Well...
1. The one and only job of an insurance company is to protect against rare catastrophic financial losses of their clients. So if a substantial fraction were failing at their one function, it speaks to a systemic problem with the industry.

2. Restaurants exist to make and sell food (barber shops to cut hair...), not provide insurance. The employees aren't paying their employers for unemployment insurance -- and, of course, the businesses most in need of such insurance are the least able to self-insure. So that insurance should be at a level of the entire economy, not a business-by-business self-insurance. And, of course, employers and in some cases employees do indeed pay the government for such insurance. That's one of the reasons the complaint against business owners is actually a little odd; People are talking as if they believe the employees are being left with nothing when laid-off, when they generally get 80% of their working income provided by the government. The exception to that are the self-employees and contract employees ("gig workers").

So to put a finer point on it:
A barber must have some cash on hand to start a business, as they'll have expenses to pay immediately, and probably some up front. I'm suggesting they should have more.
I don't understand: why require businesses to provide self-insurance for something the government is already providing? If we add this requirement while reducing the taxes and eliminating the unemployment insurance, it will make it harder for new businesses to start, with no benefit that I can see. Such a change would heavily favor large businesses at the expense of small ones.

Klystron
Locrian
(Edit: This was in reply to Vanadium 50's post above. Would love to reply to Russ, but this probably isn't the appropriate place.)

There's a hundred different ways to set aside savings like this. For instance, the rule could NOT require them initially, and then gradually increase over time. This would give the business time to build those reserves up. On the other hand, while requiring them immediately would reduce the number of businesses created, if 50% of them go bankrupt, maybe that's a sign that companies aren't capitalized sufficiently.

But hey, I know how unpopular this idea would be. After all, after working for 7 years in insurance, I can tell you that there's one group that hates reserve requirements more than any other: the insureds for whom the reserves are set aside for. How many times I read social media posts or was directly asked about why so-and-so insurance company was "sitting on" billions of dollars. Like dragons on a horde or something. I can already hear the employees complaining about the same thing.

So with that I'll let the idea go, even if I still wish (quietly) we had the kind of self control necessary to implement it.

Staff Emeritus
People are talking as if they believe the employees are being left with nothing when laid-off, when they generally get 80% of their working income provided by the government. The exception to that are the self-employees and contract employees ("gig workers").

And hourly workers who get their hours cut. I have a friend whose whole organization is going to 22 hours a week. There's only 55% of the work (less than that, but that's what they are telling everyone), so the company elected to fire nobody but cut everybody. You are right that everyone would be better off collecting unemployment, at least until it runs out for them.

russ_watters
Mentor
And hourly workers who get their hours cut. I have a friend whose whole organization is going to 22 hours a week. There's only 55% of the work (less than that, but that's what they are telling everyone), so the company elected to fire nobody but cut everybody. You are right that everyone would be better off collecting unemployment, at least until it runs out for them.
I don't know if it is typical, but in PA you can receive partial unemployment benefits if your hours are cut, and I think it is illegal to turn-down work in order to keep receiving the benefits.

berkeman
Gold Member
2022 Award
My father is a civil engineer working at a private company. Just at the beginning of the lockdown, he brought his computer home and has been working from home since then. Since he is in the design sector, all his work is on the computer. The only difference is that he does not have to spend hours on the road in traffic jams, and meetings are being conducted through Microsoft Teams rather than physically.

However, his office hasn't issued the salary for last month. Delaying it by one month is more or less manageable, but further delay will create a trouble for us.

Few days back, the Govt. announced an extension of lockdown till 17th May. Our city ranks within the twenty worse affected cities in our country; yet his office will start today as the Govt. has said that private firms can re-open with 25% employees. His office hasn't arranged for any form of transport. No cabs are running on the road, no buses; private cars are not allowed. So, he and his team has decided to continue working from home. Let's see how things go.

atyy
Staff Emeritus
We should remember the self-selection bias inherent in this thread. Being unemployed is a full-time job (seeking new employment) and very depressing. So I expect relatively few of those people will be spending time on PF.

A woman on 60 Minutes ran a catering business. She did events like parties and weddings. She said that even after the government re-opens all businesses, it will take time for people to recover from the economic shock, then more time for people to feel comfortable socializing in large groups, then still more time for them to start booking large events. She says she is broke now, but to cling to her business she would have to hang on 2-3 more years. So, her business is gone forever.

My sister's company laid off all their recruiters, since none of them have recruited anyone since February. Her company does IT including remote access, which should have big demand today, but their clients are being very slow to pay invoices, so her company's survival is threatened by excess accounts receivable.

Here in Florida, tourism and hospitality are big industries. Disney alone laid off 40K workers in one day. Perhaps 200-400K total layoffs in those industries in Florida. Many of those employees came to Florida as refugees from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. After lockdown ends, the industry fears that it will take a long time for the public to feel comfortable having fun in big crowds again. Like the cruise ship industry, they fear a dark future after the end of lockdown.

My wife and I are retired, so there has been little change in our lives. We feel lucky and privileged as we see so many others suffering true hardships. We were born at the right time (1944) we grew up in the golden 50s, we avoided all that boomer stuff, we retired before the boomers did, now we don't need to work during COVID-19. (However, I've been afraid to peek at the balance of my retirement savings.)

cnh1995, wukunlin, berkeman and 1 other person
I’m retired, so no job related issues, or economic impact of any kind. As a result, I will practice #donatethecheck. However, all entertainment outside of the house except hiking/walking has disappeared, and the volunteer organization I worked with, which involved inherent in person contact, required all those over 65 to cease and desist (younger people are still doing it with masks). My disabled daughter is increasingly frustrated with loss of her day programs, despite best efforts by my wife and I to construct alternative activities. So hanging in better than most, but not remotely a happy camper.

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cnh1995 and Spinnor
We should remember the self-selection bias inherent in this thread. Being unemployed is a full-time job (seeking new employment) and very depressing. So I expect relatively few of those people will be spending time on PF.

A woman on 60 Minutes ran a catering business. She did events like parties and weddings. She said that even after the government re-opens all businesses, it will take time for people to recover from the economic shock, then more time for people to feel comfortable socializing in large groups, then still more time for them to start booking large events. She says she is broke now, but to cling to her business she would have to hang on 2-3 more years. So, her business is gone forever.

My sister's company laid off all their recruiters, since none of them have recruited anyone since February. Her company does IT including remote access, which should have big demand today, but their clients are being very slow to pay invoices, so her company's survival is threatened by excess accounts receivable.

Here in Florida, tourism and hospitality are big industries. Disney alone laid off 40K workers in one day. Perhaps 200-400K total layoffs in those industries in Florida. Many of those employees came to Florida as refugees from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. After lockdown ends, the industry fears that it will take a long time for the public to feel comfortable having fun in big crowds again. Like the cruise ship industry, they fear a dark future after the end of lockdown.

My wife and I are retired, so there has been little change in our lives. We feel lucky and privileged as we see so many others suffering true hardships. We were born at the right time (1944) we grew up in the golden 50s, we avoided all that boomer stuff, we retired before the boomers did, now we don't need to work during COVID-19. (However, I've been afraid to peek at the balance of my retirement savings.)

Let's assume for argument's sake that a COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available in 2021 (which btw is based on current estimates of vaccine development), and thus the pandemic will come to a close around that time.

Given what you've stated about the woman on 60 Minutes, your sister's IT company, and the situation in Florida. How long do you think it would take for the American economy to fully recover from the pandemic? ~6 months? In 1 year? In over 10 years?

Staff Emeritus
How long do you think it would take for the American economy to fully recover from the pandemic?
How do we define fully? Does it make whole people who lose their jobs? bankrupt their businesses? get evicted? get foreclosed? suicide? Of course not.

There's a phrase heard often in the past two months; "new normal." The implication is that things will never return to the way they were before. Is that true? I have no crystal ball.

russ_watters
homeylova223
homeylova223
Also as the CNN article says we do not know how many people will lose jobs in the weeks to come. We have almost 20% unemployment right now. I predict we might reach something like 50% unemployment.

The thing is this quarantine caused all this to happen, Sweden never did a lockdown and they were fine, we did all this lock-down people lives are ruined and for what in PA the average corona virus patient mortality wasr 80. Ok we put millions of people out of work so people in their 80's and 90's can live a few more weeks?

Average age of corona virus patient in Pennsylvania is 79
https://justthenews.com/politics-po...aths-average-79-and-67-occurred-nursing-homes

Also as the CNN article says we do not know how many people will lose jobs in the weeks to come. We have almost 20% unemployment right now. I predict we might reach something like 50% unemployment.

The thing is this quarantine caused all this to happen, Sweden never did a lockdown and they were fine, we did all this lock-down people lives are ruined and for what in PA the average corona virus patient mortality wasr 80. Ok we put millions of people out of work so people in their 80's and 90's can live a few more weeks?

Average age of corona virus patient in Pennsylvania is 79
https://justthenews.com/politics-po...aths-average-79-and-67-occurred-nursing-homes
I wonder about having people vote on the trade offs. All choices have major evils, and politicians don’t like hard choices. However, then the minority won’t like the choice of the electorate - but at least the decision will be transparent.

In my state, it was a complete surprise to pollsters that 85% of the population supported keeping full lockdown measures for several more months.

Mentor
Sweden never did a lockdown and they were fine
They had more deaths than their neighbors, and they also have an economic damage. We'll see over time how exactly that compares to the neighbors, but it's not like Sweden didn't see any effect.
I predict we might reach something like 50% unemployment.
Based on what?
Ok we put millions of people out of work so people in their 80's and 90's can live a few more weeks?
This is your reaction to over 300,000 people who died, including thousands or tens of thousands of younger people? And that's with all the measures taken to limit the spread, otherwise the numbers would be higher.

The thing is this quarantine caused all this to happen, Sweden never did a lockdown and they were fine, we did all this lock-down people lives are ruined and for what in PA the average corona virus patient mortality wasr 80. Ok we put millions of people out of work so people in their 80's and 90's can live a few more weeks?

It's not the lockdown or no lockdown per se. It's the lockdown within the US context. When other countries had lockdown-like measures, they took steps to preserve employment.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/denmark-freezing-its-economy-should-us/608533/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...ys-workers-when-their-work-dries-up-quicktake
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020...-lockdown-phased-process-200508025832482.html

Discussion of the situation in China: https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/China-s-economic-bounceback-can-be-a-model-for-world-economies

Gold Member
I work as a hospital physician North of Boston. The pandemic has obviously changed my workflow. Everyone has had to re-evaluate their priorities. We had one elderly physician with an immunocompromised family member literally clock out, turn around and say goodbye I won't be coming back. As for me, I'm in my 50s. when this pandemic is over the house is going on the market, I'm moving down south, cutting my hours in half and relaxing a hell of a lot more than I planned

Klystron and berkeman
Gold Member
It will take years to recover, the recession of 2008-9 took a decade and this is much worse. I see it taking 15+ years to get back to the employment percentage levels we saw at the end of last year. The market is starting to recover, but the bear market will continue.

russ_watters
It will take years to recover, the recession of 2008-9 took a decade and this is much worse. I see it taking 15+ years to get back to the employment percentage levels we saw at the end of last year. The market is starting to recover, but the bear market will continue.

On what basis are you estimating that the economic damage will take 15+ years to recover to the levels we saw last year?

The 2008-2009 recession was triggered by a near-collapse of the financial sector, and these types of event have historically led to longer economic downturns (the best example of this was the Great Depression of the 1920s). The closest parallel to our present situation was the 1918 flu pandemic (which lasted 1918-1919), but given the relative lack of economic data, it's difficult to ascertain what economic impact the pandemic had. But most scholars conclude that the relative impact on the US and world economies were comparatively short-lived.

Gold Member
The recession of 2008-9 wasn't nearly as bad as this economic contraction. Yes, that was due to the banking industry, but in this case you have many other factors contributing. I don't recall having the wide ranging effects, for example, closed businesses, like we have now. Sure, we are in a lock-down situation, but, where i live, even though we might start to open up, some of the local businesses are talking about liquidating and not coming back at all.

And right now, my gut feelings are about as good as anything. I could be wrong, I could be right.

homeylova223
@mfb

My prediction is based on the fact that the second quarter will not be be good. Because so many business have closed. My prediction is also based on the fact that "unemployed " only counts as people actively seeking work. Right now people say there is between 14%-18% unemployed but that only counts as people who seeks jobs right be now but people who give up so we might have 25% real unemployment, I saw a chart on the bls website saying how jobs cuts have gone down the past ten years.

Mentor
That's not a scientific way to make an estimate. That's not much better than rolling dice.

Staff Emeritus
Didn't anybody teach you anything? You don't roll dice. You read tea leaves.

Yogi Berra said:
It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future