Who Was Laid Off and Who Was Hired During the Pandemic

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“Who Was Laid Off and Who Was Hired During the Pandemic: Job Losses and Job Gains, March 2020 to May 2022, By Age, Gender, Education, and Race and Ethnicity” is a Policy Paper by Robert Shapiro and Isaac Yoder


The rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus starting in early 2020 severely disrupted U.S. labor markets. From February to May, total non-farm employment fell from 155,243,000 to 134,902,000. The number of employed people of prime working age, 25 to 60, fell by 12,471,000, while those numbers fell by 5,050,000 for younger workers ages 16 to 25 and by 2,819,000 for older workers over age 60. Employment remained very depressed through most of 2020 and began to recover in early 2021 with wide distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and largescale government stimulus.

This study analyzes how these developments affected the employment of Americans based on their age, gender, education, and race and ethnicity through the periods of largescale job losses from March 2020 to January 2021 and subsequent largescale job growth from January 2021 to May 2022. Most of this analysis focuses on the job losses and job gains of people of prime working age, with supplementary analysis of changes in overall employment of all non-farm workers. The analysis found that the disruptions in labor markets associated with the onset and recovery from the pandemic led to substantial changes in the composition of the U.S. workforce.

Completed: July 2022
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