COVID-19 Research and Resources

IRLE researchers are rapidly responding to the COVID-19 crisis, as part of our mission to connect world-class research with policy to improve workers’ lives and communities. Explore the latest research and resources from our centers and programs below.

California Unemployment Insurance Claims During the COVID-19 Pandemic

California Policy Lab | Thomas J. Hedin, Geoffrey Schnorr, and Till von Wachter | August 6, 2020

Through a partnership with the Labor Market Information Division of the California Employment Development Department, the California Policy Lab is analyzing daily initial UI claims to provide an in-depth and near real-time look at how the COVID-19 crisis is impacting various industries, regions, counties, and types of workers throughout California.


Labor Market Impacts of COVID-19 on Hourly Workers in Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

IRLE and California Policy Lab | Alexander W. Bartik, Marianne Bertrand, Feng Lin, Jesse Rothstein, and Matt Unrath | Updated August 4, 2020

IRLE and California Policy Lab (CPL) researchers are providing an up-to-date picture of COVID-19’s effect on the labor market using Homebase scheduling software data that provides exact hours worked at tens of thousands of small firms.


Measuring the Labor Market at the Onset of the COVID-19 Crisis

California Policy Lab | Alexander W. Bartik, Marianne Bertrand, Feng Lin, Jesse Rothstein, and Matt Unrath | August 3, 2020

Using data from traditional government surveys as well as non-traditional sources, this working paper measures the collapse and partial recovery of the U.S. labor market from March to early July and provides preliminary evidence on the effect of the policy response.


California Child Care in Crisis: The Escalating Impacts of COVID-19 as California Reopens

CSCCE | Sean Doocy, Yoonjeon Kim, and Elena Montoya | July 22, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on California child care centers, forcing hundreds to close, while others remain open at the risk of illness to both children and staff, according to a survey of nearly 1,000 California child care providers.


Technological Change in Health Care Delivery

Labor Center | Adam Seth Litwin | June 23, 2020

A new report from the Labor Center and Working Partnerships USA shows how the pandemic may accelerate technological changes in healthcare, affecting the job quality of nurses, home care workers, and more.


Public Sector Impacts of the Great Recession and COVID-19

Labor Center | Sara Hinkley | June 22, 2020

This Labor Center brief summarizes the impact of the Great Recession and COVID-19 on public employment, and points to the importance of focusing on the public sector in policy responses to the pandemic crisis.


Workers as Health Monitors: An Assessment of LA County’s Workplace Public Health Council Proposal

Labor Center | Ken Jacobs, Tia Koonse, and Jennifer Ray | June 21, 2020

By helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace and transmission from the workplace to the community, worker public health councils can save lives and help speed economic recovery in Los Angeles.


COVID-19: Local Labor Standard Policies in California

Labor Center | June 16, 2020

The Labor Center has compiled a list of California city and county ordinances, proclamations, mayoral directives, and orders that expand labor standards for workers affected by the pandemic, such as paid sick leave, health care, worker retention/right of return, and policies that lift workers’ voices in firm, industry, and government responses to the pandemic.


Guides for Requesting Leave or Accommodations Needed Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Center for Work Life Law at UC Hastings | May 21, 2020

The Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings is offering free tools for workers who need leave because of the coronavirus. The new guide includes information about legal rights and new fillable forms that ask for all the information required by law for an employer to grant a leave request. Workers who want to request leave can simply complete the form and give it to their employer.


California Unemployment Insurance Claims During the COVID-19 Pandemic

California Policy Lab (CPL) | Thomas J. Hedin, Geoffrey Schnorr, and Till von Wachter | May 21, 2020

CPL is analyzing daily initial Unemployment Insurance claims to provide an in-depth and near real-time look at how the COVID-19 crisis is impacting various industries, regions, counties, and types of workers throughout California. This analysis will be updated on a bi-weekly basis.


Fiscal Impacts of COVID-19 and California’s Economy

Labor Center | Sara Hinkley | May 15, 2020

A new Labor Center blog post examines the likely impacts of the pandemic on local budgets, the factors still unknown, and the principles that must guide California’s response to this ongoing crisis.


Front-line Essential Jobs in California: A Profile of Job and Worker Characteristics

Labor Center | Sarah Thomason and Annette Bernhardt | May 15, 2020

Labor Center researchers provide a profile of essential jobs in California in terms of the prevalence of low-wage work and their demographic characteristics, focusing on front-line occupations that are likely to be most at risk of workplace exposure to the coronavirus.


Health coverage of California workers most at risk of job loss due to COVID-19

Labor Center | Laurel Lucia, Kevin Lee, Ken Jacobs and Gerald F. Kominski | May 8, 2020

A new data brief from the Labor Center and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research estimates that for every 100,000 California workers losing their jobs due to the pandemic, up to 67,000 workers, spouses, and children are at risk of losing job-based coverage.


Essential and Unprotected: COVID-19-Related Health and Safety Procedures for Service-Sector Workers

The Shift Project | Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett | May 7, 2020

According to workers surveyed by The Shift Project in March-April 2020, many service-sector workplaces have been slow to implement new cleaning procedures or issue PPE to their workers.


California Child Care at the Brink: The Devastating Impact of COVID-19 on California Child Care

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) | May 7, 2020

As Governor Newsom promises returning workers access to child care, early results from a new study from University of California, Berkeley show that many California child care programs won’t be able to survive unless they receive financial relief.


What would Uber and Lyft owe to the State Unemployment Insurance Fund?

Labor Center and Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | Ken Jacobs and Michael Reich | May 7, 2020

Uber and Lyft drivers have lost more than 80 percent of their income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. A new data brief finds that if Uber and Lyft had treated workers as employees, the companies would have paid $413 million into the state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund between 2014 and 2019.


Covid-19 Financial Relief Resources for Early Care and Education Workers

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) | May 6, 2020

While much more needs to be done to protect the early care and education workforce and ensure that programs and staff are ready to provide child care services when it is safe to do so, this guide outlines federal and state relief programs that early educators may be able to access now.


Infographic: Child care teachers are essential workers—let’s treat them that way

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) | May 5, 2020

Early educators have always provided a critical service that allows other workers to do their jobs. But during this pandemic, they are being asked to serve children of other essential workers without the appropriate pay, health care, and personal protective equipment (PPE) or recognition that should come with risking their lives.


Unemployment Effects of Stay-at-Home Orders: Evidence from High Frequency Claims Data

IRLE | Chaewon Baek, Peter B. McCrory, Todd Messer and Preston Mui | April 29, 2020

In a new working paper, researchers disentangle the local effect of shelter-at-home (SAH) policies from the general economic disruption wrought by the pandemic and find that the direct effect of SAH orders accounted for a significant, but minority share of the overall rise in unemployment claims.


COVID-19 Financial Relief Resources for U.S. Workers (Updated April 27, 2020)

IRLE | Lori Ann Ospina | April 27, 2020

Our national guide to COVID-19 financial relief resources includes eligibility information and application links, when possible, for unemployment insurance, paid sick and family leave, student loan suspension, and more.


COVID-19 Financial Relief Resources for California Workers (Updated April 20, 2020)

IRLE | Lori Ann Ospina | April 20, 2020

Check out our guide to COVID-19 financial relief resources for California workers, including eligibility information and application links for unemployment insurance, paid sick and family leave, student loan suspension, and more.


Recommendations for the Stabilization and Survival of the Essential Early Care and Education Sector

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) | April 15, 2020

How can we protect the lives of early educators and their communities and prioritize getting financial relief directly to child care programs and staff? Read the latest recommendations from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.


Essential and Vulnerable: Service-Sector Workers and Paid Sick Leave

The Shift Project | Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett | April 15, 2020

Grocery, food-service, pharmacy, hardware, and delivery workers are providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a new data brief from The Shift Project shows these workers are highly vulnerable to the economic and health risks posed by the pandemic.


Industries at Direct Risk of Job Loss from COVID-19 in California: A Profile of Front-Line Job and Worker Characteristics

Labor Center | Sarah Thomason, Annette Bernhardt and Nari Rhee | April 10, 2020

Labor Center researchers explore potential differences in the economic impacts on California’s workers, by analyzing major industries that are at highest risk of job losses or hours reduction stemming from social distancing and public health directives to slow the spread of COVID-19.


COVID-19 Resources for the Public Sector

California Public Relations (CPER) | April 8, 2020

CPER is compiling and updating a list of COVID-19 resources for public sector workers and employers.


Statement on the Provision of Emergency Child Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) | April 7, 2020

Over three weeks since US cities and states began issuing shelter-in-place orders, confusion still reigns about how to meet the child care needs of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at University of California, Berkeley have issued a statement in response to the conflicting requirements for ensuring safe emergency child care.


COVID-19: Resources on Federal and State Policy and Assistance

Labor Center | April 6, 2020

In the coming weeks and months, the Labor Center will continually review and update this resource list with information on new COVID-19 legislation, regulations, analysis, and tools.


COVID-19: Understanding Federal Legislation

Labor Center | April 6, 2020

In the coming weeks and months, the Labor Center will continually review and update this post with information on new COVID-19 legislation, regulations, analysis, and tools.


Critical policy choices to keep the labor market intact

Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | Sylvia Allegretto | April 2, 2020

In a new blog post, CWED co-chair Sylvia Allegretto responds to the latest unemployment numbers, and proposes a bold, creative solution to keep the labor market as close to intact as possible: the government should guarantee payrolls and benefits.


Modified Adjusted Gross Income under the Affordable Care Act (Updated with Information for COVID-19 Policies)

Labor Center | Laurel Lucia | April 2, 2020

Which common benefits or sources of assistance provided during the COVID-19 pandemic are included in calculating MAGI for purposes of determining health insurance program eligibility? This table addresses common benefits and sources of assistance, including select provisions in federal policies enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as of March 31, 2020.


Pay now, Verify Later to Loosen the Unemployment Insurance Bottleneck

Economics for Inclusive Prosperity | Jesse Rothstein and Arin Dube | March 26, 2020

In a new policy brief, IRLE director Jesse Rothstein and Arin Dube propose a strategy to handle the spike in
unemployment claims and get unemployment benefits out quickly without spending public dollars on invalid claims.


Time to Act for Workers: Critical State and Local Policies to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Labor Center | Nari Rhee, Annette Bernhardt, Ken Jacobs and Laurel Lucia | March 24, 2020

Labor Center researchers identify the industries most directly at risk of jobs loss and then outline principles for state and local policy responses to this crisis, highlighting immediate policy priorities.


Babies Don’t Do Social Distancing

CSCCE | Lea Austin, Marcy Whitebook, and Ashley Williams | March 20, 2020

In a new op-ed, CSCCE researchers call for increased protections, compensation, and financial relief for the early care and education workforce during the pandemic and beyond.


Estimates of Workers Who Lack Access to Paid Sick Leave at 91 Large Service Sector Employers

The Shift Project | Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett | March 19, 2020

A new brief from The Shift Project finds 53% of service sector workers at 91 of the nation’s largest employers lack access to paid sick leave.


Economics for Inclusive Prosperity COVID-19 Series

Economics for Inclusive Prosperity | Ongoing

Economics for Inclusive Prosperity, an IRLE-affiliated network of academic economists committed to an inclusive economy and society, is publishing a series of policy ideas and proposals to address the public health and economic challenges that COVID-19 poses.