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COVID-19: A View from the Labor Market

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Abstract

This paper examines the response of the U.S. labor market to a large and persistent job separation rate shock, motivated by the ongoing economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We use nonlinear methods to analytically and numerically characterize the responses of vacancy creation and unemployment. Vacancies decline in response to the shock when firms expect persistent job destruction and the number of unemployed searching for work is low. Quantitatively, under our baseline forecast the unemployment rate peaks at 19.7%, 2 months after the shock, and takes 1 year to return to 5%. Relative to a scenario without the shock, unemployment uncertainty rises by a factor of 11. Nonlinear methods are crucial. In the linear economy, the unemployment rate “only” rises to 9.2%, vacancies increase, and uncertainty is unaffected. In both cases, the severity of the COVID-19 shock depends on the separation rate persistence.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Bernstein & Alexander W. Richter & Nathaniel A. Throckmorton, 2020. "COVID-19: A View from the Labor Market," Working Papers 2010, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:87838
    DOI: 10.24149/wp2010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luca Fornaro & Martin Wolf, 2020. "Covid-19 coronavirus and macroeconomic policy," Economics Working Papers 1713, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2010. "Labor Markets and Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Model with Unemployment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 1-30, April.
    3. Facundo Piguillem & Liyan Shi, 2020. "Optimal COVID-19 Quarantine and Testing Policies," EIEF Working Papers Series 2004, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2020.
    4. Fernando Alvarez & David Argente, 2020. "A Simple Planning Problem for COVID-19 Lockdown," Working Papers 2020-34, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    5. repec:fip:l00001:87740 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Xu, Dafeng, 2021. "Physical mobility under stay-at-home orders: A comparative analysis of movement restrictions between the U.S. and Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C).
    2. Kim, Seonghoon & Koh, Kanghyock & Zhang, Xuan, 2020. "Short-Term Impact of COVID-19 on Consumption and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Singapore," IZA Discussion Papers 13354, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Zaremba, Adam & Kizys, Renatas & Tzouvanas, Panagiotis & Aharon, David Y. & Demir, Ender, 2021. "The quest for multidimensional financial immunity to the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from international stock markets," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pandemic; Vacancies; Unemployment Rate; Separation Rate; Nonlinear Solution; COVID-19;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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