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COVID-19 Publications

Estimating state and local employment in recent disasters—from Hurricane Harvey to the COVID-19 pandemic (04/29/2021)

This article examines how a series of major hurricanes in 2017 and 2018 affected the estimation of state and metropolitan area payroll employment and how lessons learned from these disasters has provided a playbook for producing estimates during the COVID-19 pandemic. read more »

Employee access to sick leave before and during the COVID-19 pandemic (04/23/2021)

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) National Compensation Survey and two BLS supplemental surveys, this article examines changes to sick leave provisions and use before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. read more »

Unemployment rate 3.7 percent for college grads, 6.7 percent for high school grads in March 2021 (04/07/2021)

The unemployment rate edged down to 6.0 percent in March 2021. The rate is down considerably from its recent high in April 2020 but is 2.5 percentage points higher than before the pandemic in February 2020. For those with a bachelor’s degree and higher, the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in March, down from a high of 8.4 percent in April 2020. read more »

Workers ages 25 to 54 more likely to telework due to COVID–19 in February 2021 (03/11/2021)

Nearly 1 in 4 people (22.7 percent) employed in February 2021 teleworked or worked at home for pay because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is down from 35.4 percent in May 2020, the first month these data were collected. read more »

Comparing the experiences of essential and nonessential businesses during COVID-19 (03/03/2021)

We use a list of pandemic-essential industries from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to classify essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among essential businesses, 16.5 percent were subject to government-mandated closures from July through September 2020. That compares with 31.5 percent of nonessential businesses. read more »

107.5 million private sector workers in pandemic-essential industries in 2019 (02/22/2021)

We have used a list of pandemic-essential industries from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to count the number of workers in “essential industries” in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Just before the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2019 the United States had an average annual private employment of 107.5 million in essential industries. read more »

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the input and output prices of the airline and hotel industries: Insights from new BLS data (02/18/2021)

This Beyond the Numbers article examines the impact of COVID-19 on firms in the air travel and accommodation (e.g., hotels) industries using the new input to industry indexes as well as the Producer Price Index (PPI) output price indexes for these industries. read more »

Employment projections in a pandemic environment (02/16/2021)

This article examines the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019–29 employment projections through two alternate scenarios: a moderate impact scenario and a strong impact scenario. read more »

Temporary layoffs remain high following unprecedented surge in early 2020 (02/10/2021)

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States declared a national emergency in March 2020. Unemployment rose by 1.5 million in March, with a large increase in the number of job losers on temporary layoff—that is, those who were given a date to return to work or expected to return to work within 6 months. Before the pandemic, this group accounted for just over one-tenth of the total unemployed but expanded to more than one-fourth in March. read more »

Effects of the pandemic on projected employment in selected industries, 2019–29 (02/05/2021)

How will the pandemic affect employment over the decade? This chart shows differences projected in some industries. read more »

Half of businesses that told employees not to work continued paying them during COVID–19 (01/08/2021)

Since January 1, 2020, about half of U.S. business establishments continued to pay at least some of their employees told not to work due to the COVID–19 pandemic. Larger businesses, those with 500 or more employees, continued to pay at least some of their employees told not to work at a higher rate (62 percent) than smaller businesses (51 percent). read more »

Employment recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic (12/29/2020)

This article reviews recent economic research on pandemic-related job losses in the United States in order to understand the prospects for employment recovery. read more »

Changes in consumer behaviors and financial well-being during the coronavirus pandemic: results from the U.S. Household Pulse Survey (12/17/2020)

Using data from the Household Pulse Survey, this article examines pandemic-related changes in consumer spending behavior in August 2020. The article also shows how these changes differed across generations and geography. read more »

60 percent of businesses with average pay less than $20k told some staff not to work due to COVID-19 (12/14/2020)

Many U.S. businesses have changed their operations and employment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since January 1, 2020, 60 percent of establishments in which workers were paid an average annual wage of less than $20,000 in 2019 told at least some employees not to work. This compared with 39 percent of establishments paying an average wage greater than $80,000. read more »

Employment changes by employer size during the COVID-19 pandemic: a look at the Current Employment Statistics survey microdata (10/20/2020)

This article uses microdata from the Current Employment Statistics survey for the private sector to calculate employment changes from February 2020 to August 2020, by employer size. read more »

One-quarter of the employed teleworked in August 2020 because of COVID-19 pandemic (09/15/2020)

About 1 in 4 people employed in August 2020 teleworked or worked from home for pay because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 24 percent of workers who teleworked in August was down from 35 percent in May, the first month these data were collected. read more »

Essential work: Employment and outlook in occupations that protect and provide (09/04/2020)

Some workers continue to provide products and services during times of emergency or crisis. Take a closer look at 30 of the occupations in which they work. read more »

Receipt and use of stimulus payments in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic (08/31/2020)

This is a first look at results from the stimulus payments questions, including information on changes in spending patterns due to the stimulus payments as well as shelter-in-place and lockdown orders. read more »

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food price indexes and data collection (08/11/2020)

This article describes the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on price changes for food categories within the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics import/export price indexes, producer price indexes, and consumer price indexes. In addition, the article assesses the pandemic’s impact on price data collection efforts. Safety precautions established during the pandemic created data collection challenges for some price indexes more than others. read more »

Geographic impact of COVID-19 in BLS surveys by industry (08/07/2020)

The local spread of coronavirus-19 has disproportionally affected employment across industries. read more »

Contact tracer (07/27/2020)

Epidemiologist Palak Panchal is on the front lines of helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases. read more »

Ability to work from home: evidence from two surveys and implications for the labor market in the COVID-19 pandemic (06/24/2020)

This article examines the relationship between workers’ ability to work at home, as captured in job characteristics measured by the Occupational Information Network, and the actual incidence of working at home, as measured by the American Time Use Survey and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. read more »

Demographics, earnings, and family characteristics of workers in sectors initially affected by COVID-19 shutdowns (06/05/2020)

Workers in the highly exposed industries and their families were disproportionally affected by COVID-19 pandemic. read more »

How many workers are employed in sectors directly affected by COVID-19 shutdowns, where do they work, and how much do they earn? (04/16/2020)

This article examines the labor market impacts of establishment shutdowns implemented in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). read more »