Tracking Labor Market Developments during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Preliminary Assessment

22 Pages Posted: 18 May 2020

See all articles by Tomaz Cajner

Tomaz Cajner

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Leland Dod Crane

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Ryan Decker

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Adrian Hamins-Puertolas

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Christopher Johann Kurz

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Date Written: April 16, 2020

Abstract

Many traditional official statistics are not suitable for measuring high-frequency developments that evolve over the course of weeks, not months. In this paper, we track the labor market effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with weekly payroll employment series based on microdata from ADP. These data are available essentially in real-time, and allow us to track both aggregate and industry effects. Cumulative losses in paid employment through April 4 are currently estimated at 18 million; just during the two weeks between March 14 and March 28 the U.S. economy lost about 13 million paid jobs. For comparison, during the entire Great Recession less than 9 million private payroll employment jobs were lost. In the current crisis, the most affected sector is leisure and hospitality, which has so far lost or furloughed about 30 percent of employment, or roughly 4 million jobs.

Keywords: Labor market; Economic measurement; Big data; COVID-19

JEL Classification: J20; J11; C53; C55; C81

Suggested Citation

Cajner, Tomaz and Crane, Leland Dod and Decker, Ryan and Hamins-Puertolas, Adrian and Kurz, Christopher Johann, Tracking Labor Market Developments during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Preliminary Assessment (April 16, 2020). FEDS Working Paper No. 2020-030 https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2020.030 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3601298

Tomaz Cajner (Contact Author)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Leland Dod Crane

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Ryan Decker

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Adrian Hamins-Puertolas

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Christopher Johann Kurz

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551

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