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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.


Related Economic Findings

The Pandemic Recession’s Disproportionate Effect on Wage Earners

Related Podcast Episodes

Episode 5: Jobs Lost and the Childcare Conundrum

Episode 11: The Lopsided Recession

Agenda

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
11:30 am - 11:35 am
Welcome and Introductions
Michael Greenstone, The Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and Harris Public Policy; Director of the Becker Friedman Institute; Director of the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC)
11:35 am - 11:55 am
The US Labor Market During the Beginning of the Pandemic Recession
Erik Hurst, Frank P. and Marianne R. Diassi Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and John E. Jeuck Faculty Fellow, Booth School of Business; Deputy Director, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics
11:55 am - 12:15 pm
Moderated Discussion
Karen L. Anderson, Senior Director of Policy, Communications & External Affairs, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics
Erik Hurst, Frank P. and Marianne R. Diassi Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and John E. Jeuck Faculty Fellow, Booth School of Business; Deputy Director, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics
12:15 pm - 12:30 pm
Audience Q&A

Registration

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