NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Labor Demand in the Time of COVID-19: Evidence from Vacancy Postings and UI Claims

Lisa B. Kahn, Fabian Lange, David G. Wiczer

NBER Working Paper No. 27061
Issued in April 2020
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

We use job vacancy data collected in real time by Burning Glass Technologies, as well as initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims data to study the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market. Our data allow us to track postings at disaggregated geography and by detailed occupation and industry. We find that job vacancies collapsed in the second half of March and are now 30% lower than their level at the beginning of the year. To a first approximation, this collapse was broad based, hitting all U.S. states, regardless of the intensity of the initial virus spread or timing of stay-at-home policies. UI claims also largely match these patterns. Nearly all industries and occupations saw contraction in postings and spikes in UI claims, regardless of whether they are deemed essential and whether they have work-from-home capability. The only major exceptions are in essential retail and nursing, the “front line” jobs most in-demand during the current crisis.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27061

 
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