Labor market recovery slowed during early February
Employment remains at only 68.6%
Labor market recovery slowed during the week of Feb. 7 through Feb. 13, according to Virginia Commonwealth University and Arizona State University economists.
Between early January and early February, employment held constant at 68.6%, which is 5.2% lower than it was in February 2020, according to the Real-Time Population Survey conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University assistant professor Adam Blandin and Arizona State associate professor Alexander Bick.
“Since October, employment has stopped recovering and has actually declined,” Blandin said in a statement. “We saw a continuation of this trend in February. This suggests that the early rapid recovery was only a partial one, and many workers who were working prior to the pandemic are still struggling to find work.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in spring 2020, employment fell by 14%, a “historic loss for the economy, both in its size and speed,” Blandin said in a statement.
The Real-Time Population Survey closely follows the methodology of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey and covers the same time period, but is released two weeks earlier. The survey is conducted in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
The most recent Real-Time Population survey also showed that less than two-thirds of adults who were working right before the pandemic are still working for the same employer. However, workers have seen earnings recovery, with about half of workers earning the same amount that they were before the pandemic.