In addition to its terrible human toll, the COVID-19 pandemic has also caused massive disruption in labor markets. In the United States alone, more than 25 million people lost their jobs during the first wave of the pandemic. While many have returned to work since then, a large number have remained unemployed for a prolonged period of time. The number of long-term unemployed (defined as those jobless for twenty-seven weeks or longer) has surged from 1.1 million to almost 4 million. An important concern is that the long-term unemployed face worse employment prospects, but prior work has provided no consensus on what drives this decline in employment prospects. This post discusses new findings using data on elicited beliefs of unemployed job seekers to uncover the forces driving long-term unemployment.
The coronavirus pandemic and the various measures to address it have led to unprecedented convulsions to the U.S. and global economies. In this post, I examine those extraordinary impacts through the lens of personal consumption expenditures on discretionary and nondiscretionary services, a framework I developed in a 2011 post (and subsequently employed in 2012, 2014, and 2017). In particular, I show that there were exceptional declines in both services categories during the spring; their recoveries, however, have displayed notably different patterns in recent months, with nondiscretionary services expenditures nearly back to their prior level and discretionary services expenditures seemingly stalled well below their pre-pandemic peak.
This is the fourth and final post in this series aimed at understanding the gap in COVID-19 intensity by race and by income. The previous three posts focused on the role of mediating variables—such as uninsurance rates, comorbidities, and health resource in the first post; public transportation, and home crowding in the second; and social distancing, pollution, and age composition in the third—in explaining the racial and income gap in the incidence of COVID-19. In this post, we now investigate the role of employment in essential services in explaining this gap.
This is the second post in a series that aims to understand the gap in COVID-19 intensity by race and income. In our post yesterday, we looked at how comorbidities, uninsurance rates, and health resources may help to explain the race and income gap observed in COVID-19 intensity. We found that a quarter of the income gap and more than a third of the racial gap in case rates are explained by health status and system factors. In this post, we look at two factors related to indoor density—namely the use of public transportation and increased home crowding. Here, we will aim to understand whether these two factors affect overall COVID-19 intensity, whether the income and racial gaps of COVID can be further explained when we additionally include these factors, and whether and to what extent these factors independently account for income and racial gaps in COVID-19 intensity (without controlling for the factors considered in the other posts in this series).
Understanding the Racial and Income Gap in Covid‑19: Health Insurance, Comorbidities, and Medical Facilities
Our previous work documents that low-income and majority-minority areas were considerably more affected by COVID-19, as captured by markedly higher case and death rates. In a four-part series starting with this post, we seek to understand the reasons behind these income and racial disparities. Do disparities in health status translate into disparities in COVID-19 intensity? Does the health system play a role through health insurance and hospital capacity? Can disparities in COVID-19 intensity be explained by high-density, crowded environments? Does social distancing, pollution, or the age composition of the county matter? Does the prevalence of essential service jobs make a difference? This post will focus on the first two questions. The next three posts in this series will focus on the remaining questions. The posts will follow a similar structure. In each post, we will aim to understand whether the factors considered in that post affect overall COVID-19 intensity, whether the racial and income gaps can be further explained when we additionally include the factors in consideration in that post, and whether and to what extent the factors under consideration in that post independently affect racial and income gaps in COVID-19 intensity (without controlling for the factors considered in the other posts in this series).