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Press Release

Aided by Tight Labor Market, Job Losers in Pandemic Bounced Back Better Than Those in Previous Recessions: Cleveland Fed Researchers

Workers displaced during the 2020 pandemic recession experienced almost no earnings loss, on average, compared to workers who lost jobs in the recessions of 1990-1991, 2001, and 2008-2009, and were more likely to regain employment, according to a new Economic Commentary from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

Researchers Angela Guo, Pawel Krolikowski, and Meifeng Yang considered whether their findings could have been driven by pandemic-related factors including the industry and occupation composition of lost jobs, the prevalence of worker recalls, and the availability of unemployment benefits, but concluded that these are unlikely explanations.

“A sharp recovery in aggregate labor market conditions after the pandemic recession accounts for these better outcomes,” they wrote.

They based their research on an analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Displaced Worker Survey and other data.

Read the Economic Commentary: Job Loss Consequences and the Pandemic Recession

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,, 513.218.1892