Bird’s eye view of COVID-19, mobility, and labor market outcomes across the US

RESEARCH PAPERS ARE PRELIMINARY MATERIALS CIRCULATED TO STIMULATE DISCUSSION AND CRITICAL COMMENT. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. WHILE RESEARCH PAPERS BENEFIT FROM ACTIVE UHERO DISCUSSION, THEY HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FORMAL ACADEMIC PEER REVIEW.

COVID-19 dealt a formidable blow to the US economy. We present a joint analysis of the epidemiological and labor market outcomes across US states. We focus on the relationship across relevant indicators in the pre-vaccination era. As expected, we find strong correlation between changes in economic conditions and mobility. However, mobility fluctuations tend to be uncorrelated with local epidemics and occur simultaneously across most states. The magnitude of the mobility response is highly correlated with the rural vs. urban character of the area. Employment losses are most strongly associated with high population density and concentration of the leisure and hospitality industry. The relationship between job losses and the case fatality ratio is affected by the timing of the most severe COVID-19 waves.

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