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.

Explore Employment and Unemployment

  • The grill is nearly empty at dinner hour at Ben's Chili Bowl during the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington, D.C., April 30, 2020, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Path to Recovery from COVID-19 for Small Businesses

    The COVID-19 pandemic has hammered small businesses around the United States. We spoke with 21 small business owners to learn more about the challenges they are facing and how they might best be helped.

    Jun 25, 2020

  • Two office workers wearing masks and gloves passing documents while keeping a distance, photo by gpointstudio/Getty Images

    Multimedia

    COVID-19 Briefing Series: Examining the Post-COVID-19 Workforce

    In this briefing, RAND's Christian van Stolk discusses how policymakers and employers can rethink and retool the workplace to support employee health and well-being and maintain productivity during the pandemic.

    Jun 19, 2020

  • Blog

    Protests and Police Reform, Facial Recognition, Gun Policies: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on protests and police reform after the killing of George Floyd, facial recognition bans, gun policies that likely reduce deaths, and more.

    Jun 19, 2020

  • Doug Hassebroek eats breakfast while on a video conference call at his home in Brooklyn, April 24, 2020, photo by Caitlin Ochs/Reuters

    Report

    COVID-19 and the Changing Nature of Work

    Between February and May, one in six U.S. workers lost their jobs. Most were either laid off or unable to work because of coronavirus restrictions. The ability to telecommute protected against job loss. But of course not all jobs are conducive to telecommuting.

    Jun 18, 2020

  • A women walks past an employment agency in London, June 16, 2020, photo by John Sibley/Reuters

    Commentary

    Long-Term Furloughs During COVID-19 Hold Risks for Employee Health and Well-Being

    Governments around the world have offered furlough schemes to try to delay employers from making any restructuring decisions during the pandemic. The aims of such programs are laudable. But they may come with unintended consequences.

    Jun 15, 2020

  • Mother working at home while caring for a toddler, photo by kate_sept2004/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Working Moms Are at Risk of Being Left Behind

    Being a working parent was hard enough before the pandemic. If COVID-19 intensifies the perception that parenting is at odds with work, then there may be devastating career consequences for working mothers.

    Jun 11, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Workplace Health: Long-Term Sickness Absence and Capability to Work

    Researchers provided evidence on reducing sickness absence in the workplace to support National Institute for Health and Care Guidance (NICE) guidelines on how to help people return to work after long-term sickness absence.

    Jun 11, 2020

  • Blog

    A Message from Our President and CEO, America's Wealth Gap, Disinformation: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on doing more to address systemic inequalities and structural racism, paying the bills during COVID-19, America's growing wealth gap, and more.

    Jun 5, 2020

  • Mother with teenage boy working from home, photo by martinedoucet/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Reopened Offices Won’t Mean Back-to-Normal for Caregivers

    As some workplaces start to reopen and work-from-home guidelines relax, corporate leaders may hope things will quickly get back to normal. But for employees who are also caregivers, that's likely not going to be the case.

    Jun 4, 2020

  • As phase one of reopening begins in Northern Virginia, a waitress with a face mask serves diners at a restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, May 29, 2020, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Wealth Gap Widens

    Whether history considers the current downturn a recession or a depression, it will reinforce the growing inequality in the United States. Navigating this crisis without substantially increasing inequality would require an unwavering commitment to support displaced workers and small-business owners.

    Jun 1, 2020

  • A man speaks with a library worker after receiving an unemployment form in Miami Beach, Florida, April 8, 2020, photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

    Commentary

    38 Million Have Applied for Unemployment. But How Many Have Received Benefits?

    Unemployment Insurance may need substantial reform to its application process, but it has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment disaster. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the new program intended for workers who are not part of the employer tax base, has not.

    Jun 1, 2020

  • Blog

    COVID-19's Effects on U.S. Schools, Vaccine Uptake, Small Businesses: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how COVID-19 has affected U.S. schools, potential barriers to vaccine uptake, what small businesses need to survive, and more.

    May 29, 2020

  • News Release

    News Release

    Preparing Now Can Help Small Businesses Revive More Quickly as the Economy Reopens, Business Owners Tell RAND

    As small businesses reopen after a lengthy pandemic shutdown, one key challenge will be finding working capital to replenish inventories and pay employees until revenue returns to normal.

    May 27, 2020

  • Manager Flory Ramirez waits for customers as restaurants are reopened following the lifting of some restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Houston, Texas, May 1, 2020, photo by Go Nakamura/Reuters

    Commentary

    To Preserve Jobs, America's Employers May Have to Get Creative

    With about 38.6 million Americans filing for unemployment insurance benefits since the end of February, it is clear that COVID-19 has turned the world of work upside down. One way to reduce the economic damage may be job-sharing, an approach that focuses on maximizing jobs by reducing workers' hours rather than resorting to layoffs or furloughs.

    May 26, 2020

  • Lisa Rowland, owner of Dog's Best Friend, trims the coat of a poodle as dog grooming services gradually reopen during the COVID-19 outbreak, in Pasadena, California, May 21, 2020, photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Report

    How Small Businesses Are Surviving the Pandemic

    Small-business owners are facing many challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What kinds of policies might help them in the immediate term? And what will they need to thrive once the public health crisis has passed?

    May 22, 2020

  • Crowds gather at Buffalo Bayou Park as social distancing guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19 are relaxed in Houston, Texas, May 4, 2020, photo by Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters

    Commentary

    Relaxing COVID-19 Restrictions Presents Stark Choices

    RAND's new COVID-19 interventions impact tool uses epidemiological and economic models and continually refreshed data to estimate what could happen as restrictions are eased. The tool won't make the choices confronting state leaders less painful. But it can provide clear, evidence-based estimates of the health and economic trade-offs.

    May 18, 2020

  • Blog

    Preparing for a Post-Vaccine World, Domestic Abuse, the Future of War: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why we need a blueprint for a post-vaccine world, helping domestic abuse victims during COVID-19, the pandemic's historic economic effects, and more.

    May 15, 2020

  • Women work on a production line at a mobile phone factory in Assuit, Egypt, September 30, 2018, photo by Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

    Commentary

    Economic Recovery in Egypt Should Include Women

    Despite tremendous strides in educational attainment, women's engagement in the labor force in Egypt remains limited. Will Egypt's post-pandemic recovery further exacerbate structural barriers and inequities? Or could the current economic crisis be an opportunity to develop new opportunities to employ women and foster conditions for a more inclusive and diversified labor force?

    May 11, 2020

  • Blog

    Reopening America, China's 'Mask Diplomacy,' State Police Powers: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on a RAND tool that estimates the public health and economic effects of reopening America, China's “mask diplomacy,” using police powers for pandemic response, and more.

    May 8, 2020

  • A man speaks with a library worker after receiving an unemployment form in Hialeah, Florida, April 8, 2020, photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Historic Economic Effects of COVID-19

    The extent of COVID-19's effect on the labor market will be catastrophic for many workers and businesses. Matching the unemployment rate peak set by the Great Depression is not even necessary to establish the historic nature of the downturn that we're living through.

    May 7, 2020

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