Rescuing a `Sick' Labour Market: Using Online Vacancy Data to Track COVID-19's Economic Impact.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Economics


The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause the worst recession the world economy has experienced since the Great Depression. Millions of people have already lost their jobs, and the functioning of the labour market has been profoundly disrupted by social distancing measures. In this context, it is fundamental to quantify the impact of the pandemic on job creation. This project will use a unique data set of daily online job postings to provide answers to key questions: which firms and sectors are expanding or contracting during the pandemic? Which jobs are being demanded? What skills and tasks are required in these jobs and how are work activities being delivered? How fast will the dynamics of job creation change as lockdown measures are eased? To answer these questions, our project will carry out an articulated analysis, employing multiple econometric techniques.

Firstly, we will provide a detailed descriptive analysis on the evolution of job creation across occupations, sectors, and regions in order to deliver essential insights on the economic consequences of the pandemic, including the crucial distributive impacts across regions and types of jobs.

Second, we will make use of advanced techniques in text analysis to study the wording of job postings in order to shed light on whether and how the structure of jobs changes as a result of the COVID-19 shock. In light of the intensity of the COVID-19 induced economic disruption, we may expect to see persistent structural changes to the design of work activities and the remuneration patterns associated with different jobs. The granular and high frequency data that we will employ will allow us to comprehensively assess the occurrence and importance of such changes.

Finally, we plan to identify the firm-level characteristics that play a crucial role in ensuring firms' production continuity, and labour demand resilience. Among other factors, the degree of automated work may be crucial to ensure firms' production continuity under lockdown restrictions. For example, robots assembling product components or production processes that are compatible with remote work may allow firms to remain more active while social distancing measures are in place.

Coupled with a detailed analysis on the skills demanded, the study will be provide essential inputs for the design and roll-out of targeted interventions that support the most severely affected areas, jobs and industries. These inputs will also be useful for the informing longer run investment decisions on skill training programs and government assistance.


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Description IN progress - check PI and CAGE websites for updates. Material for two papers and two policy briefs has been produced and write-up has started. Event planned for late April
Exploitation Route IN progress - check PI and CAGE websites for updates. Material for two papers and two policy briefs has been produced and write-up has started. Event planned for late April
Sectors Creative Economy,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice

Description ESRC Festival of Social Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact How fast will economic activity rebound and have some types of work suffered a permanent reduction? To what extent will remote working practices continue? In this webinar, join Professor Mirko Draca (CAGE Director, Department of Economics, University of Warwick) as he reports on new research using 'real-time' data that looks at the economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis in the UK. Using daily online job vacancy data to measure the state of the labour market as well as structural changes in the nature of jobs, our analysis of real-time data allows us to address these questions with a specific focus on conditions around Coventry and the West Midlands.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020