Working Paper

The Labor Market Impact of a Pandemic: Validation and Application of a Do-It-Yourself CPS

Abstract: The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a central source of U.S. labor market data. We show that, for a few thousand dollars, researchers can quickly design and implement their own online survey to supplement the CPS. The survey closely follows core features of the CPS, ensuring that outcomes are conceptually compatible and allowing researchers to weight and validate results using the official CPS. Yet the survey also allows for faster data collection, added flexibility and novel questions. We show that the survey provided useful estimates of U.S. labor market aggregates several weeks ahead of the CPS during the turbulent start of the COVID-19 recession. We then assess the extent of downward nominal wage rigidity at the onset of the pandemic, finding that wage reductions were widespread, but were more common for job-switchers and recalled workers. We discuss a wide range of additional applications.

Keywords: labor market survey; real-time data; nominal wage rigidity;

JEL Classification: E24; J21; C81;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2020-12-22

Number: 2031