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Labor market outcomes and time use during the Coronavirus outbreak

This project will study labor market outcomes and time use by US households during the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak. We are particularly interested in the effect of the outbreak on three interrelated areas. First, how did the outbreak impact labor market outcomes such as employment, hours worked, and income. Second, how did the closure of schools and daycare facilities impact the childcare practices and time use of parents? Third, what are the broad patterns of social distancing adopted by households, and how are social distancing practices affected by shocks to labor market outcomes and childcare availability. In principle, data sets collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)/US Census Bureau would allow us to address these questions, but unfortunately not in real time. The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) will most likely not be available for several years. The Current Population Survey (CPS) is conducted monthly, but the results are released with a significant lag. The BLS will release the Employment Situation report, based on the CPS, on April 3, but this will only reflect outcomes in the week of March 12, which precedes major effects of the Coronavirus crisis on the labor market. This means that CPS data reflecting the post-Coronavirus labor market will not be available until the May Employment Situation report is released. Further, the micro data associated with this report is released on an additional delay, and may not be available until late May or later. In response to this dearth of data, we are launching a bi-weekly online survey. Our goals are to (1) provide a real time picture of the labor market, and (2) to fill the gaps between monthly CPS releases, which is important given the rapidly changing nature of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Lead investigator:

Alexander Bick


Arizona State University

Primary topic:

Jobs, work, pay & benefits

Secondary topic:

Families & households

Region of data collection:

North America

Country of data collection


Status of data collection

In Progress

Type of data being collected:

Online survey

Unit of real-time data collection


Start date


End date



Periodic (other)

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