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The labor market is going through an unprecedented realignment. Job openings reached a series high of 9.2 million in May 2021, hires and quits are near record rates, and layoff rates are at a record low. At the same time, unemployment remains elevated and labor force participation is still depressed.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scope and amount of unemployment insurance (UI) in the United States has been expanded substantially through federal legislation.
The initial job losses of the COVID-19 pandemic were considerably greater for women than for men. The two most important and credible hypotheses to explain why job losses differed by gender include the industry mix hypothesis and the childcare hypothesis.
Given the substantial economic and social benefits of employment, it is best that these 10 million jobs return as quickly as possible. COVID-19 is the greatest barrier to this return. Some employment activities, and the purchasing activities that help finance them, have been curbed by a combination of individual choices and government-imposed restrictions, in order to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Lower fertility can have serious economic ramifications, and from a social capital perspective, the recent birth decline has potential to reduce the number of family connections that enhance individuals’ lives and that sustain American communities.