This article compares inequality in US employment across social groups in the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. We develop an inequality measure that captures both how much employment declines during a recession and the persistence of those declines. The results show a significant shift of job loss from men in the Great Recession to women in the COVID-19 lockdown. White workers fare better than other racial/ethnic groups in both recessions. Black and Hispanic women are hit especially hard in the COVID-19 pandemic. With our job loss measure, less-educated workers had modestly worse outcomes in the Great Recession. However, during COVID-19, less-educated workers suffer much more severe employment consequences than more educated groups. We discuss the long-term effects of employment inequality and how these findings are relevant to debates about policy responses.
US Employment Inequality in the Great Recession and the COVID-19 Pandemic
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- Wp 154 Fazzari Needler Emp (pdf, 529.49 KB)