By the Numbers.

By the Numbers.

The first half of 2020 was one for the record books. We saw an entire decade’s worth of job gains vanish in two months. Then, about a third of the 21 million lost jobs came back. 

More than 1 in 7 U.S. workers lost their jobs during the economic shutdowns. Even though we’ve added jobs at a record pace in May and June, the unemployment rate remains at its highest level since the Great Depression.

In the U.S., the hardest-hit sectors were non-hospital health-care jobs, hotels and restaurants. These types of service industry jobs account for 70% of total U.S. employment. This covers the majority of my members here, who employ dental, medical and orthodontic assistants. 

I’ve long taught that you must have your ear to the ground in your individual market. Just like I watch the smoke stacks from the 4.9 million square feet assembly plant down the hill from my home and pay close attention to the local news where thousands of local workers and families in my practice work, you must do the same.

My advice to clients in Las Vegas is very different than the advice I would give to someone in Washington D.C. right now. Not only has the pandemic shifted patterns in unemployment by job sector and region, but it has also shifted the way consumers buy and where new jobs are being added in significant numbers. 

Warehouse workers are in tremendous demand, for example, as more and more retail and grocery shopping shifts online. Were I to practice near a large Amazon distribution center, I’d be working every angle to welcome those new employees to my practice by accepting their insurance and hosting socially-distanced appreciation events, special offers and referral campaigns directly targeted at their coworkers and extended family.

In areas where workers have lost their dental insurance benefits, I’d be quickly and consistently promoting my in-house dental savings plan with referral cards, so that existing plan members can get free products or credit for services when they refer a friend or family member. I’d be advertising to low-cost coupon clippers like ValPak and PennySaver, etc. 

If you’re in a region with better economic stability, I’d be listening to what my patients wanted so that they can continue to maximize their flex spending accounts and dental insurance. 

Sure, Silicon Valley might be more stable than the shale oil fields in Texas right now, but that doesn’t mean high-paid workers aren’t afraid of losing their jobs or missing out on a promotion, regardless of industry or region.

We’ve seen more requests for early, late and weekend appointments because of this. If they have a job they love, parents in our practices don’t want to miss work. 

So, please pay attention to these trends and go back with another COVID-19 survey to your patient base, especially if you’re in Florida, Texas, Georgia or any of the other states or local regions with spikes in positive cases. 

Finally, curate and read the news that is relevant to your practice, so that you can make decisions and take action. Everything else is just noise.

Worked at Burleson Orthodontics. Attended University of Missouri–Kansas City. Lives in Kansas City, Missouri.