Unemployed With Jobs and Without Jobs
Potential workers are classiﬁed as unemployed if they seek work but are not working. The unemployed population contains two groups—those with jobs and those without jobs. Those with jobs are on furlough or temporary layoﬀ. This group expanded tremendously in April 2020. They wait out periods of non-work with the understanding that their jobs still exist and that they will be recalled. We show that the resulting temporary-layoﬀ unemployment dissipates quickly following a spike. Potential workers without jobs constitute what we call jobless unemployment. Shocks that elevate jobless unemployment have much more persistent eﬀects. Historical major adverse shocks, such as the ﬁnancial crisis in 2008, created mostly jobless unemployment and consequently caused extended periods of elevated unemployment. The pandemic of 2020 created a large volume of temporary-layoﬀ unemployment, mostly starting in April. It was mostly dissipated by the end of 2020. It also created a bulge in jobless unemployment.
Hall’s research was supported by the Hoover Institution. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or the Federal Reserve System. We thank Benjamin Schoefer for helpful discussions. Data and calculations are available at Kudlyak’s website and cover the period through May 2021.
Robert E. Hall
Hall attends conferences and meetings at the Federal Reserve Board and regional Federal Reserve Banks, at the European Central Bank, and at the central banks of other countries, including the United Kingdom, Portugal, Chile, and Canada. In some cases, he receives honorariums for his participation. His wife, Susan Woodward, has similar relations with the Federal Reserve System. His daughter is an economist at the US Treasury. His son is chief economist of Uber Technologies, Inc. Hall's research is supported by Stanford's Hoover Institution.