Using data from ADP, one of the world’s largest human resources management companies, Booth Professor Erik Hurst and his co-authors measure changes in the US labor market during the early stages of this “Pandemic Recession.” They find that US private sector employment contracted by about 21% between mid-February and late-April 2020, with workers in the bottom quintile of the wage distribution experiencing a 30% employment decline through May, and those in the top quintile only a 5% decline. The authors also reveal that businesses have cut nominal wages for about 10 percent of continuing employees, about twice the rate during the Great Recession, while forgoing regularly scheduled wage increases for others.
Professor Hurst discussed his findings and what we can expect to learn when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its monthly employment report on July 2. Following his presentation, Hurst engaged in a moderated discussion and took audience questions. Karen Anderson, Senior Director of Policy & Communications for the Becker Friedman Institute, moderated the discussion.
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