Research recently conducted by graduate student Seung Jin Cho and John Winters, associate professor, suggests that reported unemployment rates underestimate actual employment losses due to COVID-19. Furthermore, his study shows that those most adversely impacted by pandemic job losses are young adults ages 16 to 24, people with less education, individuals with lower family income, Hispanics and Blacks.
“The economic pain is widespread but not equally spread,” Winters said.
One of the problems with the publicized unemployment rate, according to Winters, is that it excludes individuals who want to work but who are currently not working or looking for work. And, in April 2020, there was a substantial increase in the number of people who reported they were employed but physically absent from work due to COVID-19 shut downs. The BLS acknowledged that these individuals should have been classified as unemployed or on temporary layoff, but they were not, further skewing the unemployment results.