Real-Time Labor Market Estimates During the 2020 Coronavirus Outbreak
38 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2020
Date Written: September 14, 2020
Official labor market statistics for the United States are collected once a month and published with a three week delay. In normal times, this procedure results in timely and useful statistics. But these are not normal times. Currently, the most recent statistics refer to August 9-15; new statistics will not be available until October 2. In the meantime, the Coronavirus outbreak is rapidly reshaping the US economy. This project aims to provide data on labor market conditions every other week, and to publish results the same week, thereby reducing the information lag. We do so via an online labor market survey of a sample representative of the US working age population, which we refer to as the Real-Time Population Survey (RPS). The core labor market questions in the RPS follow the government survey (the CPS), which allows us to construct estimates consistent with theirs. Thus far the RPS covers every other week from March 29 through August 29. The latest RPS estimates from the week of August 23-29 present mixed messages for the labor market recovery among working age adults between early August and late August.
Keywords: Real-time, labor market, employment, unemployment, COVID-19
JEL Classification: E24, J21, J31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation