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The US Employment Situation Using the Yale Labor Survey




This study presents the design and results of a rapid-fire survey that collects labor market data for households in the United States. The Yale Labor Survey, or YLS, uses an online panel from YouGov to replicate the Current Population Survey (CPS), which is the source of the government's monthly household statistics. Questions in the YLS concern current and retrospective employment, hours, and income. Because the YLS draws upon an existing pool of potential respondents, it can generate responses inexpensively and quickly (within 24 hours). Moreover, the YLS can develop new questions in real time to study unusual patterns of work and unemployment during the pandemic. Results from the YLS track those from the CPS over the period of April through June of 2020, with relatively accurate estimates of employment but greater difficulty capturing unemployment. The major issue statistical issue dealt with in this paper is the sample weighting required to overcome the bias in using an online panel.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Foote & William D. Nordhaus & Douglas Rivers, 2020. "The US Employment Situation Using the Yale Labor Survey," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2243, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:2243

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Coibion, Olivier & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Weber, Michael, 2020. "Labor Markets During the Covid-19 Crisis: A Preliminary View," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7rx7t91p, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    2. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 2019. "Understanding Trends in Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States," NBER Working Papers 25425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ted Chang & Phillip S. Kott, 2008. "Using calibration weighting to adjust for nonresponse under a plausible model," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 95(3), pages 555-571.
    4. Adams-Prassl, Abi & Boneva, Teodora & Golin, Marta & Rauh, Christopher, 2020. "Inequality in the impact of the coronavirus shock: Evidence from real time surveys," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    5. Erik Brynjolfsson & John J. Horton & Adam Ozimek & Daniel Rock & Garima Sharma & Hong-Yi TuYe, 2020. "COVID-19 and Remote Work: An Early Look at US Data," NBER Working Papers 27344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Bick & Adam Blandin, 2020. "The Labor Market Impact of a Pandemic: Validation and Application of a Do-It-Yourself CPS," Working Papers 2031, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    2. Ward, Jason M. & Anne Edwards, Kathryn, 2021. "CPS Nonresponse During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Explanations, Extent, and Effects," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    3. Alexander Bick & Adam Blandin & Karel Mertens, 2020. "Work from Home Before and After the COVID-19 Outbreak," Working Papers 2017, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, revised 25 Feb 2021.

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    More about this item


    Employment; Unemployment; Survey; Weighting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods

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