Questions and answers about
the economy.

Tracking the economic impact of Covid-19 in Europe and the United States

We use high-frequency indicators available with little or no delay to obtain estimates of the economic impact of Covid-19 in Europe and the United States. We highlight the following findings. (1) Energy usage in Europe suggest that GDP has declined by between 20 to 29 percent in annualized terms (and 40 to 58 percent in hardest-hit countries, such as Italy) during the acute phase of the pandemic. Cross-sectional regression indicate that doubling of cases (which happens every 2 to 3 days during early phases) seems to be associated with 3% daily output losses or more. (2) US unemployment rate would surpass 20 percent. (3) The impact of the Covid shock is stronger in poorer states, in those with a lower share of jobs that can be done from home, and in states that do not have in place laws for paid sick days.

Lead investigator:

Sophia Chen


IMF Research Department

Primary topic:

Recession & recovery

Secondary topic:

Jobs, work, pay & benefits

Region of data collection:

North America

Status of data collection


Type of data being collected:

Publicly available

Unit of real-time data collection