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The effect of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. labor market has been profound. In the early weeks of the outbreak, the unemployment rate skyrocketed from 4% in February to almost 15% in April of 2020. Although the economy has partially recovered since April, as of August 2020, the unemployment rate stood at over 8%, more than twice as high as it had been just 6 months prior. The economic toll of the coronavirus outbreak has been particularly severe for service sector workers. As state-wide orders to close businesses went into effect, many retail, food service, and hospitality workers experienced layoffs and furloughs. Jobs in these sectors are currently at half to two-thirds of their previous levels.


Schneider, Daniel, Kristen Harknett, and Annette Gailliot. "Unemployed Without a Net: Few Unemployed Service Sector Workers Received UI and Many Experienced Hardships." Shift Project, 2020.