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Non-working workers. The unequal impact of Covid-19 on the Spanish labour market

Working Paper 2020-564


We present an evaluation model that aims at developing a synthetic index of non-employment that combines incidence and severity. This index considers, besides conventional unemployment rates, unemployment duration, discouraged workers and workers with suspended jobs. We have applied this methodology to the analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 in the Spanish labour market. The impact of the epidemics on the job market has been very asymmetric by regions and types of workers. Compared to the situation in the third quarter of 2019 we find that one year later the non-working index arrived to more than 150 in regions in the south whereas it is below 75 in regions like Navarra, Catalunya or Madrid. The dynamics of this indicator, though, shows that the larger increments have occurred among the regions with lower initial values so that the variability is now smaller. Regarding age and education, we find that the young (and among them the less educated) are the population subgroup that suffers more intensely the impact of this new economic crisis. On the contrary, older workers seem to improve for all education subgroups during 2020. The main reason behind this is the asymmetric concentration of temporary collective redundancy scheme measures among older workers, what is very much connected with the dual character of the Spanish labour market regarding contract types and job security.

Authors: Antonio Villar, José Ignacio García Pérez.

Keywords: Unemployment, Severity, Incidence, Unemployment Duration, Inequality, Covid-19.
JEL: J01, J21