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Press Release

How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Education and Labor Markets in the US?

Millions of students, educators, and other school staff throughout the United States had their lives disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated mitigation policies. Families had to adapt unexpectedly to remote or hybrid learning environments, and while some schools have since returned to in-person instruction, others remain in a remote or hybrid mode.

In this Economic Commentary, Cleveland Fed researcher Peter Hinrichs reviews the evidence on the spread of the COVID-19 virus through in-person school settings, the impact of K–12 school closures on labor force participation, and the effects of virtual schooling on student outcomes.

“The evidence suggests that the spread of the COVID-19 virus at K–12 schools has been low, although it may have spread through colleges at a higher rate. While anecdotal evidence suggests that school closures have reduced labor force participation, the research evidence thus far does not find much support for this situation,” says Hinrichs. “The limited research evidence does, however, suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is negatively affecting students’ academic performance.”

Read the Economic Commentary.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479