The unequal(?) burden of unemployment in Sweden during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: 29 October 2021

Author: Marcus Eliason, And

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures enforced to combat it have led to a decline in economic activity unprecedented since the Great Depression. Worldwide, millions, and yet millions, of people have lost their jobs–either temporarily or permanently. At first, the COVID-19 pandemic was characterised as a leveller, but since then it has become increasingly clear that it is nothing of the sort. Using aggregated data on jobseekers registered with the Swedish Public Employment Service I document how the inflow, outflow, and stock of jobseekers evolved for various demographic groups during the first wave of the pandemic. Similar to previous studies, I find that
already disadvantaged groups, such as the younger and to some extent also the foreign born were more adversely affected during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that is not to
say that other groups were not affected, and contrary to many of these same studies I do not find that women were disproportionally affected.


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