The world economy is enduring a staggering downturn amidst the spread of COVID-19. Individuals are already suffering immediate losses in terms of income and employment. Economists have been quick to call for governments to take strong coordinated actions (e.g. Baldwin 2020, Bénassy-Quéré et al. 2020). Early survey data suggests that uncertainty for businesses has heightened dramatically (Bloom et al. 2020).
In this column, we use new survey data on workers in the US and the UK to show that the impact of the spread of COVID-19 on workers’ current and expected labour supply and earnings is massive. However, the impact is not the same for all types of workers. The downturn is particularly harsh for younger workers and those in more precarious types of employment, such as the gig economy. Pressure on people in these segments of society is leveraged by their fear about not being able to cover their bills. The pressure is so high that many report going to work with flu-like symptoms, which poses a health risk to all. We find that this behaviour is particularly likely for those without paid sick leave.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ The large and unequal impact of COVID-19 on workers | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal