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‘It’s Physical, How Depressing It Is’: Life As A Furloughed CRE Employee

Alexandra Marvar,

“It took two months to get unemployment,” said Denise Blackstone, a Dallas-based lease administrator for a healthcare company that owns upward of 600 physical therapy clinics around the U.S. “My application was denied in the beginning, I don’t know why. Maybe because I just moved to Houston, but I’ve been working in the state of Texas for decades as a real estate lease analyst. I’ve had the same job title for over 25 years.” 

Blackstone had never in her career been furloughed before. Now her story is one that is being repeated across America. According to the U.S. Labor Department’s latest jobs report, as of May, more than 15 million Americans were on furlough.

What CRE Has Learned About Furloughs

In other industries, furloughing isn’t so new: The U.S. government has furloughed workers during government shutdowns for decades, and as recently as last fall, General Motors made headlines when it furloughed thousands of Canadian employees amid a United Auto Workers strike.

But since March, property owners and brokers especially have come to know the term all too well, as their tenants and clients in the office, retail, hospitality and travel industries have furloughed workers by the millions.

In real estate, companies including Knotel, Convene, Sonder, Realogy, Trump Properties, U.S. mall owner Simon Properties and firms across the construction industry have all utilized the process. In the UK, real estate firms reported that 27.9% of their collective workforce was furloughed between May 18 and 31. 


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