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Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
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Supplemental data measuring the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market


The Bureau of Labor Statistics added five questions to the Current Population Survey (CPS) to help gauge the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market. These questions were asked beginning in May 2020 and will remain in the CPS until further notice.

These questions ask whether people teleworked or worked from home because of the pandemic; whether people were unable to work because their employers closed or lost business; whether they were paid for that missed work; and whether the pandemic prevented job-seeking activities. All of these supplemental questions refer to activities at any time during the "last 4 weeks" and follow the monthly labor force questions. (At the request of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), an additional question asked whether people did not receive needed medical care because of the pandemic. Data from this question are not presented here.)



 

Highlights of the May and June 2020 supplemental data

The highlights below summarize findings from the new questions related to the labor market impacts of the pandemic. The estimates presented in these tables are not seasonally adjusted and are for the nation as a whole. Learn more about the concepts from the supplemental data.


Employed people who teleworked at some point in the last 4 weeks because of the pandemic
  • In June, just under one-third of workers teleworked or worked from home for pay because of the coronavirus pandemic. The share of workers who teleworked in June (31 percent) was lower than the figure for May (35 percent). These data refer to employed people who teleworked or worked at home for pay at some point in the last 4 weeks specifically because of the coronavirus pandemic. This measure does not include those whose telework was unrelated to the pandemic, such as employed people who worked entirely from home before the pandemic. (See table 1.)

  • Women were more likely than men to have teleworked because of the pandemic (36 percent versus 27 percent in June). (See table 1.)

  • In June, 49 percent of Asians teleworked because of the pandemic, higher than the proportions for Whites (31 percent), Blacks (26 percent), and Hispanics (21 percent). (See table 1.)

  • Younger workers were less likely to have teleworked because of the pandemic than older workers. In June, 15 percent of employed people ages 16 to 24 had teleworked because of the pandemic, versus 35 percent of workers ages 25 to 54 and 30 percent of workers age 55 and over. (See table 1.)

  • Workers with higher levels of educational attainment were more likely to have teleworked because of the pandemic. Among employed people age 25 and over, 5 percent of those with less than a high school diploma teleworked in June, much lower than the 54 percent of those with a bachelorís degree and higher. (See table 1.)

  • The likelihood of teleworking because of the pandemic varied by occupation. In June, employed people were most likely to telework because of the pandemic in professional and related occupations (54 percent) and management, business, and financial operations occupations (50 percent). In contrast, relatively few people teleworked in service occupations (7 percent); natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations (6 percent); and production, transportation, and material moving occupations (5 percent). (See table 2.)

  • By industry, 66 percent of workers in educational services, 62 percent in finance and insurance, and 60 percent in professional and technical services teleworked in June because of the pandemic. In contrast, 7 percent of those working in accommodation and food services and 6 percent in agriculture teleworked. (See table 2.)

  • Government workers were more likely than private wage and salary workers to have teleworked because of the pandemic (49 percent versus 29 percent in June). (See table 2.)

  • Full-time workers were more likely than part-time workers to have teleworked because of the pandemic (34 percent versus 19 percent in June). (See table 2.)


People who were unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because of the pandemic
  • In June, 40.4 million people reported that they had been unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic—that is, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours. This figure was down from 49.8 million in May. The figure for June represented 16 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population, down from 19 percent in May. (See table 3.)

  • Over half of the people who were unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic were employed at the time they were interviewed. Of the 40.4 million people unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or business cutbacks, 23.3 million (58 percent) were employed at the time of the June survey. About 28 percent of people whose work had been curtailed at some point in the last 4 weeks were unemployed, and 14 percent were not in the labor force. (See table 5.)

  • Of the 18.1 million people unemployed in June, 11.4 million (63 percent) were unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. Among the unemployed, the vast majority of those on temporary layoff in June were unable to work because of the pandemic (83 percent). This was much higher than the share for unemployed job seekers (34 percent), a category that includes permanent job losers and people reentering or newly entering the labor force. (See table 5.)

  • Only 6 percent, or 5.7 million, of the 99.3 million people not in the labor force in June were unable to work because of pandemic-related employer shutdowns or cutbacks. However, for the small subset of people not in the labor force who wanted a job, nearly one-third were unable to work because their former employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. (See table 5.)

  • In June, 16 percent of employed people were unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. (See table 5.)

  • People who usually work part time were twice as likely as full-time workers to have been unable to work due to the pandemic, 28 percent versus 14 percent in June. (See table 7.)

  • Among those employed in June, 46 percent of workers in personal care and service occupations and 35 percent of workers in food preparation and serving related occupations were unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because of employer closures or cutbacks due to the pandemic. (See table 7.)

  • Self-employed workers were much more likely than private wage and salary workers and government workers to have been unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business. About one-third of the self-employed in June were unable to work because of the pandemic, compared with 15 percent of private wage and salary workers and 10 percent of government workers. (See table 7.)


Pay status of those unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because of the pandemic
  • Among people who reported in June that they were unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 15 percent received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked. In May, 18 percent of those unable to work because of the pandemic received pay. (See table 3.)

  • Among those unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic, the likelihood of getting paid for the hours not worked varied by employment status at the time of the survey. For people employed in June, about 20 percent received pay from their employer for the hours not worked. By contrast, 10 percent of people who were unemployed and 8 percent of those not in the labor force were paid by their former employer. (See table 5.)

  • For employed people unable to work because of the pandemic, those who usually work part time were about half as likely as full-time workers to report being paid by their employer for the hours they did not work. Among part-time workers in June, 12 percent received pay from their employer for the missed hours. In contrast, 23 percent of full-time workers received pay. (See table 7.)

  • People employed in personal care and service occupations were the least likely to be paid by their employer for the hours they missed (9 percent in June). Those employed in education, training, and library occupations were the most likely to be paid (54 percent) by their employer. (See table 7.)

  • Of the employed who were unable to work in June, 55 percent of government workers were paid by their employer for the hours they missed, compared with 19 percent of private wage and salary workers. (See table 7.)


People not in the labor force who did not look for work in the last 4 weeks because of the pandemic
  • About 7.0 million people not in the labor force in June were prevented from looking for work by the pandemic. This represents 7 percent of those not in the labor force. (To be counted as unemployed, by definition, people must either be actively looking for work or on temporary layoff.) (See table 9.)

  • The number of people not in the labor force who were prevented from looking for work because of the pandemic was lower in June than in May (7.0 million versus 9.7 million). (See table 9.)

  • Among those not in the labor force, people who wanted a job were more likely to have been prevented from looking for work because of the pandemic than were people who did not want a job, 43 percent versus 4 percent in June. Fewer than 1 in 10 people not in the labor force wanted a job. (See table 9.)

 

Data tables

The monthly estimates presented in these tables are not seasonally adjusted and are for the nation as a whole.

  • Table 1. Employed persons who teleworked or worked at home for pay at any time in the last 4 weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic by selected characteristics
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)
  • Table 2. Employed persons who teleworked or worked at home for pay at any time in the last 4 weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic by usual full- or part-time status, occupation, industry, and class of worker
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)
  • Table 3. Persons unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic by receipt of pay from their employer for hours not worked and selected characteristics
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)
  • Table 4. Distribution of persons unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic by receipt of pay from their employer for hours not worked and selected characteristics
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)
  • Table 5. Persons unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic by receipt of pay from their employer for hours not worked and employment status
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)
  • Table 6. Distribution of persons unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic by receipt of pay from their employer for hours not worked and employment status
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)
  • Table 7. Employed persons unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic by receipt of pay from their employer for hours not worked, usual full- or part-time status, occupation, industry, and class of worker
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)
  • Table 8. Distribution of employed persons unable to work at some point in the last 4 weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic by receipt of pay from their employer for hours not worked, usual full- or part-time status, occupation, industry, and class of worker
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)
  • Table 9. Persons not in the labor force who did not look for work in the last 4 weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic by selected characteristics
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)
  • Table 10. Distribution of persons not in the labor force who did not look for work in the last 4 weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic by selected characteristics
    May 2020 (XLSX) June 2020 (XLSX)

 

Data availability

New monthly data tables will be posted on this page as they are available. No schedule has been set for the release of these data tables.

Variables for the special COVID-19 questions will be available in microdata extract files from the Census Bureau. No schedule has been set for the release of these files. (Personally identifiable information is removed from all CPS microdata.)

 

Questions and concepts from the supplemental data


Telework because of the pandemic

Whether a person teleworked was determined through answers to the question: "At any time in the last 4 weeks, did you telework or work at home for pay because of the coronavirus pandemic?" (The question was asked of people 16 years or older who were employed at the time of the survey.)

These data refer to employed people who teleworked or worked at home for pay at some point in the last 4 weeks specifically because of the coronavirus pandemic. People did not have to telework for the entire time that they worked to be counted among those who telework. By design, people whose telework was unrelated to the pandemic, such as employed people who worked entirely from home before the pandemic, should not be included in this measure.


Unable to work because of the pandemic

Whether people were unable to work was determined through answers to the question: "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?" (The question was asked of all people 16 years or older.)

This question was designed to capture information on both those who were unable to work because their business closed entirely due to the pandemic, as well as those who were unable to work or worked reduced hours because of partial cutbacks in business operations. This includes people whose hours had been reduced because of the pandemic but continued to work for the same employer.

These data do not include all people who were unable to work because of the pandemic. For example, it may exclude people who are unable to work now because of the pandemic but were unemployed before it started. It may exclude people who are unable to work because of health concerns or fear of getting ill. It may exclude people who were not working before but might want to work now, like a student who planned to get a summer job.

The fact that someone is employed at the time of the survey does not necessarily mean they are working for the same employer that closed or lost business. For example, someone who worked two jobs before the pandemic, but lost one because that business closed, would still be employed on the other job. Someone who lost a job at a business that closed but then began working at another job may also be counted in this measure.


Pay status of those unable to work

People who reported that they were unable to work (as defined above) were asked: "Did you receive any pay from your employer for the hours you did not work in the last 4 weeks?" No information was collected about how much pay they received, such as whether they were paid for all of the time not worked. Also, no information was collected about the source of the pay from the employer, such as whether or not it was tied to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or other program participation.


Did not look for work because of the pandemic

Whether the pandemic kept people from looking for work was determined through answers to the question: "Did the coronavirus pandemic prevent you from looking for work in the last 4 weeks?" (The question was asked of people 16 years or older who were not in the labor force at the time of the survey—that is, they were neither employed nor unemployed.)


 

Last Modified Date: July 29, 2020