Job Market Statistics During and After COVID Recession?
The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has been unsparing in its impact on the U.S. labor market. The number of employed workers fell by 24.7 million from February to April 2020 as the outbreak shuttered many parts of the economy. With the easing of government-mandated closures in recent weeks, employment picked up by 4.1 million from April to May. But overall, job losses remain sizable, with employment decreasing by 20.6 million (or 13%) from February to May. The downturn has affected some Americans more than others, particularly Hispanic women, immigrants, young adults, and those with less education.
The decrease in employment in the first three months of the COVID-19 recession is more than double the decrease affected by the Great Recession over two years. From the end of 2007 to the end of 2009, U.S. employment fell by 8.0 million, or 5%. In addition, the impact of the COVID-19 recession on several groups of workers varies notably from their experiences in the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
- More women than men lost their jobs from February to May, 11.5 million vs. 9.0 million. In sharp contrast, men lost more than twice as many jobs as women in the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009, 5.5 million vs. 2.5 million. Indeed, the COVID-19 downturn is the first of eight downturns in the past five decades in which women have lost more jobs than men.
- Hispanic women have experienced a steeper decline in employment (‑21%) in the COVID-19 downturn than other women or men. One reason is that Hispanic women are more likely than others to be employed in leisure and hospitality services; some 14% of Hispanic women were in 2018 compared with 10% of women and 8% of men overall. The leisure and hospitality sector shed 39% of its workforce from February to May, far more than any other sector. The employment of Hispanic women was essentially unchanged during the Great Recession.
- Employment among immigrant workers has decreased more sharply than among U.S.-born workers in the COVID-19 recession, a 19% drop compared with 12%. In the Great Recession, immigrants lost jobs at a slightly slower pace than U.S.-born workers.
- The employment of young adult workers ages 16 to 24 have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 downturn, with one-quarter of them losing their jobs from February to May. A key contributing factor is that nearly half of young adult workers (48%) were employed in higher-risk industries in February, compared with 24% of workers overall.
- Workers without any college education were more likely to have lost their jobs than workers with at least some college education in the COVID-19 downturn. The decrease in employment from February to May ranged from 6% among workers with a college degree or more education to 21% among workers without a high school diploma. This pattern in job losses by education level is also in line with trends in recessions historically, including the Great Recession.