Employment and Unemployment

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An individual's education, age, and health status may present barriers or opportunities to employability, just as a region's economy, tax base, and number of immigrants and emigrants may affect job availability. RAND research examines the impact of a range of policies and forces—personal, regional, and global—on employment and unemployment.

  • Father with kid working from home during quarantine, photo by len4ik/Adobe Stock

    Report

    How Telecommuting Is Changing During the Pandemic

    Dec 3, 2020

    The ability to telecommute at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic saved many workers' jobs. Some of them are now returning to their workplaces, but most who can telecommute continue to do so. Telecommuting is also spreading to such occupations as health care and sales. Are these changes likely to persist after the pandemic?

  • Woman working from home with young son, photo by ArtMarie/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Women Are Leaving the Labor Force in Record Numbers

    Nov 24, 2020

    The economic downturn during the pandemic is affecting women workers measurably harder than men. There were 2.2 million fewer women in the labor force in October 2020 than there were last October. Investing in childcare and expanding labor laws could keep women employed and buoy the entire economy.

Explore Employment and Unemployment

  • A sushi chef waits for diners as Miami-Dade County allows indoor servicing in restaurants after easing some lockdown measures in Miami, Florida, August 31, 2020, photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

    Commentary

    For Leisure and Hospitality, Weak Recovery Still Looks Like Recession

    By most measures, the workers hardest hit by pandemic shutdowns were those in the leisure and hospitality sector, which includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services. These jobs, which are still affected by government social distancing regulations, are not all likely to come back before the pandemic truly ends.

    Sep 4, 2020

  • Construction workers have their temperatures checked on a job site, photo by Maha Heang 245789/Adobe Stock

    Commentary

    Should COVID-19 Be Covered by Workers' Compensation?

    Expanding workers' compensation coverage for COVID-19 could be part of a broader response to ensuring an efficient economic recovery from the pandemic. What are the potential benefits and drawbacks?

    Aug 31, 2020

  • Universal Studios and CityWalk are closed due to COVID-19 concerns in Hollywood, California, May 14, 2020, photo by Ted Soqui/Reuters

    Commentary

    Industry Mix in L.A. Area Helps Explain Recent Record Unemployment Rates

    The Los Angeles Combined Statistical Area reported more than 270,000 job cuts between March and early August. Considering which industries have cut jobs may provide a window into the area's unique labor market and help explain how the area currently has among the highest unemployment in the nation.

    Aug 25, 2020

  • Blog

    Radicalization, the Gender Pay Gap, Israel-UAE Deal: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the potential for a new era of radicalization, insights into the gender pay gap, why the Israel-UAE deal doesn't merit the hype, and more.

    Aug 21, 2020

  • People line up outside Kentucky Career Center prior to its opening to find assistance with their unemployment claims in Frankfort, Kentucky, June 18, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Unemployment Statistics Obscure About Temporary Layoffs

    As the broadest COVID-19 shutdowns were underway this spring, a historic number of American workers entered temporary layoff. Those temporary layoffs represent an economy put on pause. What has happened to them since then tells us if the economy can hit play again.

    Aug 17, 2020

  • Blog

    L.A.'s High Unemployment, RAND's New Research Center, Twitter: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on unemployment in the Los Angeles area, the new RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy, food consumption in the UK, and more.

    Aug 14, 2020

  • Young Black woman working on a computer at home with her dog on her lap, photo by filadendron/Getty Images

    Commentary

    COVID-19 Brings Opportunity to Reassess Work Policies

    As certain COVID-19 restrictions lift, and life for some begins to return to a “new normal,” employers may have the opportunity to rebuild work policies to better support those employees who want to continue working from home. This could produce well-being benefits for employees, without compromising on, and often increasing, productivity.

    Aug 11, 2020

  • Blog

    Preparing for a COVID-19 Election, Hurricane Response, North Korea: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on preparing for a COVID-19 election, how the pandemic is affecting artists, North Korea's deadly artillery, and more.

    Aug 7, 2020

  • People socially distance as they protest in support of laid-off hotel workers without health care amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in Los Angeles, California, July 23, 2020, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Commentary

    L.A. Has the Nation's Highest Unemployment. For Some Groups, It's Even Worse Than That.

    Los Angeles and its neighboring counties are among the areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 recession. The shockingly high average unemployment rates only tell part of the story, however. For the poor and some racial and ethnic groups, the jobs picture is far worse.

    Aug 6, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Crisis Beyond the Crises: MENA's Youth Unemployment Problem

    An unwavering commitment to fostering youth employment- and thus to overcome the crisis beyond the crises- seems necessary to ensure a prosperous future for the youthful MENA region, and critical to guarantee stability and security in the time to come.

    Aug 5, 2020

  • Ballet dancer on stage in an empty theater, photo by vgajic/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Pandemic Is a Disaster for Artists

    The arts as we know them are likely to be shut down for the foreseeable future and the vast majority of artists have likely lost some or all of their income. How many artists are out of work, and what could be done to help them?

    Aug 4, 2020

  • Benefits of Job Sharing

    Multimedia

    The Benefits of Job Sharing

    RAND associate economist Jason Ward explains how job sharing may help to reduce the economic shock of COVID-19 and prevent layoffs.

    Aug 3, 2020

  • Multimedia

    From the Community Corrections Lens

    In this Events @ RAND podcast based on the Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium held at RAND in 2019, Veronica Cunningham and Nicole Jarrett offer their perspectives on the next steps that policymakers, practitioners, and employers can take to equalize employment opportunities for individuals with criminal records. RAND's Dionne Barnes-Proby hosts.

    Jul 29, 2020

  • Blog

    Reopenining Schools, Affordable Housing, Unemployment: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the debate about reopening schools, how a decline in commercial real estate demand could help address the housing crisis, challenges facing the U.S. unemployment system, and more.

    Jul 24, 2020

  • A man walks past the shuttered Richard Rodgers Theatre, home of the popular musical “Hamilton,” in New York, July 2, 2020, photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Commentary

    Arts and Cultural Workers Are Especially Vulnerable to the Pandemic

    Workers in the arts and cultural industries could be especially vulnerable to the economic shocks of COVID-19. As the United States reopens and decides its future, it should recognize these vulnerabilities, as well as the benefits that the arts and cultural industries offer.

    Jul 23, 2020

  • People line up outside a career center, hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claims, Frankfort, Kentucky, June 18, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is the U.S. Stuck with a Fixed Add-On for Unemployment?

    When COVID-19 led to millions of Americans losing their jobs, Congress moved to increase unemployment benefits by $600 a week. What should happen when those extra benefits expire?

    Jul 23, 2020

  • Multimedia

    Practitioners’ Views on Barriers and Opportunities

    In this Events @ RAND podcast based on the Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium held at RAND in 2019, Joshua Miller, Toney L. Earl Jr., Tony Lewis Jr., and Andrew Morton discuss strategies for overcoming barriers and improving employment outcomes through reentry, community supervision, and employer-driven programs.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • Mature Black women working on a computer at home, photo by Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images

    Commentary

    National Security and Workplace Flexibility Aren't Incompatible After All

    For years, the U.S. Defense Department dismissed workplace flexibility as being incompatible with national security. But during the pandemic, flexibility became a matter of survival for all employers, including Defense. The question now is whether it will keep recent adaptations or go back to its rigid ways.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Blog

    COVID Learning Loss, Russian Trolls, Artificial Intelligence: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on helping students recover learning losses, fighting Russian trolls, racial disparity in unemployment benefits, the race for AI leadership, and more.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Multimedia

    Certification, Background Checks, and Stigma

    In this Events @ RAND podcast based on the Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium held at RAND in 2019, Peter Leasure, Michael Vuolo, and Naomi F. Sugie present evidence from employer and job-seeker studies on Ban-the-Box, Certificates of Relief, and background checks.

    Jul 15, 2020

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