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Employment Effects of COVID-19 across States, Sectors
The COVID-19 pandemic generated sharp losses in employment in early 2020, followed by a partial but incomplete recovery that continues to this day. The effects on employment in business sectors that produce goods and those that provide services varied substantially across states. This was the case during both the initial drop and the subsequent recovery. The extent of the cross-state variation and how the variation has evolved over time has been unlike any past recessions, making the pandemic recession and recovery unprecedented in both its severity and its uneven impact.
Unemployment Insurance Withdrawal
Unemployment insurance benefits were expanded substantially to help overcome the pandemic labor market shock in early 2020. However, improved labor market conditions in early 2021 prompted many states to withdraw from the enhanced unemployment benefits programs several months before the federal program was scheduled to end in early September. A comparison of states that ended enhanced benefits early with those that maintained them suggests that the withdrawal is associated with a small pickup in employer hiring, consistent with prior studies that found the unemployment benefit expansions had ...
Searching for Maximum Employment
How well the economy is progressing toward the Federal Reserve’s goal of maximum employment is reflected in a range of indicators that evolve over time. Beyond the unemployment rate, two key metrics of labor market health are the labor force participation rate and the employment-to-population ratio. The aging of the population is reducing the levels of both measures, implying that they are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic highs. However, these two indicators remain well below their demographic trends, and analysis suggests that they will not recover to trend until 2024.