Robert Hall, Marianna Kudlyak, 24 June 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to job loss of catastrophic proportions in the United States. This column looks at recoveries from recessions over past 70 years to assess how the US labour market might recover from this job loss of unprecedented magnitude. Remarkably consistent recoveries have occurred in the US after every recessionary shock that caused a spike in unemployment, and there are reasons to believe that the recovery from the current shock will be more rapid, because unemployment contains a much larger fraction of workers on temporary layoff than in previous recoveries. However, there is a great deal of uncertainty about the possible recovery rate.

Matthias Schnetzer, Dennis Tamesberger, Simon Theurl, 07 April 2020

Due to the global spread of COVID-19, Austria, like many other countries, is facing a massive increase in unemployment. To mitigate the skyrocketing number of unemployed persons, social partners have developed a new model of subsidised short-time work that could become an international role model. The Austrian model allows a temporary reduction in working hours up to 90% while maintaining the employment relationship and granting almost full public wage compensation. This measure can help to bridge the economic outfall as it helps to stabilise demand and fosters a fast return to pre-crisis economic activity. 

Matthias Heinz, Sabrina Jeworrek, Vanessa Mertins, Heiner Schumacher, Matthias Sutter, 15 December 2017

Any organisation that needs to restructure, cut wages, or make layoffs needs to know how the employees who are not affected will respond. This column presents a field experiment which revealed that the perception that employers are unfair – in this case, as a result of layoffs – reduces the performance of employees who have not been not directly affected. As part of the experiment, experienced HR managers were able to successfully anticipate the consequences of unfair employer behaviour on unaffected workers.

Nicolas Lepage-Saucier, Juliette Schleich, Étienne Wasmer, 29 July 2013

In hard times, firms tend to offer precarious temporary contracts rather than safer, long-term contracts. In light of this, this column looks at reforming employment protection. Overall, the debate amongst economists focuses far too much on the convergence of these two types of contracts. Policymakers would do well to begin looking at other, more attractive and more implementable options.

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