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Measuring the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic using the Current Population Survey

New Current Population Survey questions to measure impact of coronavirus pandemic

BLS added five new questions to the Current Population Survey (CPS), the monthly household labor force survey that provides information about employment and unemployment in the United States. These questions will help us understand the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market.

The questions were added to the May CPS and also will be collected in subsequent months.

See the data from these new questions.

What are the new questions used to measure the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

These questions appear at the end of the basic monthly labor force questions:

Introduction. I now have a few questions related to work activities affected by the coronavirus-COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to contain the coronavirus have included business and school closures, social distancing, and other disruptions. The following questions refer to the last 4 weeks. By the last 4 weeks I mean the 4 week period ending last Saturday.

(Asked about all employed people age 16 and over)

Q1. At any time in the LAST 4 WEEKS, did you telework or work at home for pay BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC?

  • Yes
  • No


(Asked about all people age 16 and over)

Q2. At any time in the LAST 4 WEEKS, were you unable to work because your EMPLOYER CLOSED OR LOST BUSINESS due to the coronavirus pandemic?

  • Yes (go to Q3)
  • No (go to Q4)


(Asked if “yes” is the response to Q2)

Q3. Did you receive any pay from your EMPLOYER for the hours you DID NOT work in last 4 weeks?

  • Yes
  • No


(Asked about all people age 16 and over who are not in the labor force)

Q4. Did the coronavirus pandemic prevent you from looking for work in the LAST 4 WEEKS?

  • Yes
  • No


(Asked about all household members, including children)

Q5. At any time in the last 4 weeks, did you or anyone in your household need medical care for something other than coronavirus, but not get it because of the coronavirus pandemic? Please include all adults and children in the household.

  • Yes (go to Q5a)
  • No


(Asked if “yes” is the response to Q5)

Q5a. Who was that?



Last Modified Date: July 31, 2020