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.

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