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Differential Initial Impacts of COVID-19 on the Employment and Hours of the Self-employed

Charlene Marie Kalenkoski and Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia


This study examines the initial impact of COVID-19 on the employment and hours of unincorporated self-employed workers using data from the Current Population Survey.  Random-effects and difference-in-difference-in-differences models are estimated and differential impacts by gender, marital status, and parental status are examined.  Although employment and hours decreased for all groups due to the response to the health threat posed by the pandemic differential impacts by gender, marital status, and parental status exist.  Married women were less likely to be working than married men, while single women were more likely to be working than single men.  However, fathers of school-age children who remained employed were working reduced hours compared to men without children.  Remote work and working in an essential industry mitigated some of the negative effects on employment and hours.