U.S. employment rising slightly but still mostly flat, survey says
More COVID-19 cases recently have likely created economic uncertainty.
A survey released Monday by Virginia Commonwealth University and Arizona State University economists indicates that coronavirus-fueled economic uncertainty may have paused the nation’s labor market recovery, which stands at 63.8% employment.
The employment rate remained steady during the week of Aug. 9-15, according to the report, which is based on the Real-Time Population Survey conducted by VCU business professor Adam Blandin and ASU’s Alexander Bick, an associate professor of economics.
After an increase in employment in May and early June, the labor market was essentially flat between early June and early July. Since then, the market has grown but at a slower pace. “The slower pace of the recovery coincides with a higher level of new virus cases compared to May and June, again suggesting that labor market conditions are closely tied to concerns and uncertainty around the virus,” Blandin said in a statement.
The February employment rate was 73.8% and began to dip in mid-March, as the pandemic took hold in the United States. In early May, according to the Real-Time Population Survey, the employment rate was at a low of 55.3% but recovered to 63.5% by early June. The survey is conducted in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and follows the methodology of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Study.