Pathways and Persistence of Labor Force Transitions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published: 2024
Project ID: UM24-04


Using new data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we will document pathways out of the labor force during the COVID-19 pandemic; estimate the persistence of transitions into retirement, disability, and other nonwork states for near retirement workers; and simulate long-term effects on displaced workers’ economic security. We will pay particular attention to disparities by race, ethnicity, sex, and rurality. Our study will help inform SSA’s efforts to promote economic security in old age and fits directly into the SSA’s interest in racial, ethnic, and sex equity. Previous analyses have identified demographic and socioeconomic groups that were more likely to exit the labor force during the pandemic. These studies’ data lacked the long panel dimension needed to study how labor histories and prepandemic characteristics affected pathways out of the labor force during the pandemic. Moreover, to our knowledge, no study has tried to determine the persistence of labor force exits during this period.