Shari Sandidge cut staffing levels at her Miller Buick-GMC dealership in Woodbridge, N.J., by more than half as the coronavirus pandemic hit. And while she has since brought many employees back with the help of federal loan money, she has also eliminated three positions out of concern for slower sales.
"There's been so much unknown," said Sandidge, the third-generation owner of the family-run dealership. "There's no book to tell you what to do, and so we've really had to take it one step at a time."
Franchised dealers terminated or furloughed about 300,000 employees, or more than a quarter of the industry's work force, during the first crushing months of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, and about half of dealership jobs were reduced or altered in some way, recruitment technology firm Hireology estimates. Dealership employment started to rebound as states began easing stay-at-home restrictions and retailers leveraged federal Paycheck Protection Program loans meant to support payrolls.