The NCSL Blog


By NCSL Staff

As the economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic surged to levels unseen since the Great Recession, economists and state policymakers are contemplating if high unemployment rates will hobble the U.S. economy for an extended period.

"Closed" sign in store windowThe lead story in the latest issue of State Legislatures magazine reports “lost workers now collecting unemployment insurance considered their job losses or furloughs to be temporary. Research from the University of Chicago, however, suggests that almost half the layoffs will become permanent.

And many of those lucky enough to hold onto jobs through the first half of 2020 have seen pay cuts and reduced hours, which also are likely to remain permanent. Studies estimate that anywhere from 4 million to 7 million workers have received pay cuts since February.

“What makes this downturn unique,” said Rakesh Kochhar with the Pew Research Center, “is that it is driven by a health crisis, not an economic crisis.” Whereas previous recessions and downturns have been led by the goods or financial sectors, this one is led by the service sector. The food and beverage, travel, retail, sporting and gambling industries have been hit the hardest so far.

Watch co-author Suzanne Hultin talk about the story in an NCSL State Legislatures Spotlight video.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |

Subscribe to the NCSL Blog

Click on the RSS feed at left to add the NCSL Blog to your favorite RSS reader. 

About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.