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Nearly 10 Million People Filed for Unemployment in the US: What Does It Mean for the Cybersecurity and IT Workforce?

Published 06 - April - 2020
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Source: Security Magazine
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The number of new people claiming unemployment benefits totaled a staggering 6.648 million last week — doubling the record set a week earlier, the Department of Labor said recently

In addition, a revised 3.307 million initial claims were filed the prior week ending March 21, 2020.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1 percent for the week ending March 21, an increase of 0.9 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. This is the highest level for insured unemployment since July 6, 2013 when it was 3,079,000, says the Department of Labor.

The previous week’s level was revised down by 19,000 from 1,803,000 to 1,784,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,053,500, an increase of 327,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the highest level for this average since January 14, 2017 when it was 2,062,000. The previous week’s average was revised down by 4,750 from 1,731,000 to 1,726,250.

Businesses have been forced to close as much of the country has been ordered to stay at home for at least several weeks to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. This has contributed to millions of people filing for unemployment and nearly every state reporting on claims cited the pandemic’s broad impact. The Labor Department added, ” States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries. Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.”

How does this impact the cybersecurity workforce? Security magazine spoke to many cybersecurity experts to get some insight.

Steve Durbin, managing director of the Information Security Forum, a London-based authority on cyber, information security and risk management: “The issue is not that there may be layoffs, it’s that there still aren’t enough skilled resources available in security today.  Shortages in skills and capabilities are being revealed as major security incidents damage organizational performance and reputation. Building tomorrow’s security workforce is essential to address this challenge and deliver robust and long-term security for organizations in an age where we are seeing more and more remote workers.

One specific area that organizations need to deal with is the rise of the insider threat with so many disgruntled employees who have been furloughed, or let go, from their jobs. The trust organizations are placing in insiders has grown with advances in information technology, increasing information risk and changing work environments. This trend will continue as the volume of information insiders can access, store and transmit continues to soar – and mobile working for multiple employers become the status quo.”