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Task content and job losses in the Great Lockdown


  • Petroulakis, Filippos


I examine the short-term labor market effects of the Great Lockdown in the United States. I analyze job losses by task content (Acemoglu & Autor 2011), and show that they follow underlying trends; jobs with a high non-routine content are especially well-protected, even if they are not teleworkable. The importance of the task content, particularly for non-routine cognitive analytical tasks, is strong even after controlling for age, gender, race, education, sector and location (and hence for differential demand and supply shocks). Jobs subject to higher structural turnover rates are much more likely to be terminated, suggesting that easier-to-replace employees were at a particular disadvantage, even within sectors; at the same time, there is evidence of labor hoarding for more valuable matches. Individuals in low-skilled jobs fared comparatively better in industries with a high share of highskilled workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Petroulakis, Filippos, 2020. "Task content and job losses in the Great Lockdown," GLO Discussion Paper Series 702, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:702

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    Cited by:

    1. Beyer, Robert C.M. & Jain, Tarun & Sinha, Sonalika, 2023. "Lights out? COVID-19 containment policies and economic activity," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    2. Consolo, Agostino & Petroulakis, Filippos, 2022. "Did COVID-19 induce a reallocation wave?," Working Paper Series 2703, European Central Bank.
    3. Palacios-Lopez,Amparo & Newhouse,David Locke & Pape,Utz Johann & Khamis,Melanie & Weber,Michael & Prinz,Daniel, 2021. "The Early Labor Market Impacts of COVID-19 in Developing Countries : Evidence from High-Frequency Phone Surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9510, The World Bank.

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    More about this item


    COVID-19; Labor Markets; Recessions; Task Framework; Business Cycles; Unemployment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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