Long COVID and Unemployment in Hawaii

Carl Bonham, Ruben Juarez, COVID-19, Health, Publications

Abstract: The state of Hawaii has seen 390,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 1900 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Although the negative impact of the pandemic on employment has been widely documented, this paper demonstrates that those who were infected and suffer from lingering symptoms (i.e., long COVID) had different employment outcomes than those who did not experience such symptoms. Using data from our longitudinal cohort in the state of Hawaii, we found that those who reported long COVID in May 2022 were 6.43% more likely to be unemployed at the time of the May survey and 7.07% more likely in November 2022. In addition, we showed that vaccination is associated with higher rates of employment; each additional vaccine an individual received by May decreased the likelihood of unemployment by 6.9% in May and 3.9% in November. Further, individuals who reported more severe symptoms of long COVID were 6.36% less likely to be employed in May and 5.75% less likely to be employed in November. Our results suggest that vaccination policies and policies aimed at preventing contraction and accommodating individuals with long COVID may be effective measures for mitigating the adverse effects of the pandemic on employment.


Bonham, C.; Juarez, R.; Siegal, N. Long COVID and Unemployment in Hawaii. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20, 6231. https://doi.org/10.3390/ ijerph20136231

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