Long Covid – The Affects on the Labor Market 🤒

Long Covid – The Affects on the Labor Market

Everyone has heard of Covid, but have you heard of or experienced Long Covid? For some context, Long Covid, also known as long-haul Covid, post-Covid, or post-acute Covid syndrome, refers to the ongoing symptoms and health effects experienced by some individuals who have recovered from a Covid-19 infection. These symptoms can include fatigue, difficulty breathing, body aches, and brain fog, among others, and can last for weeks or even months after the initial infection. The exact cause of Long Covid is not yet understood, and research is ongoing to better understand this phenomenon and develop treatments for those affected by it. Even so, many economists believe the economic impact of Long Covid on the labor force is prominent (although hard to map precisely).

Some economic models suggest that hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions of people, have been unable to work due to long-haul symptoms after a Covid infection. In September, economist Paige Ouimet noted that “at a minimum, Long Covid is adding a lot of uncertainty to an already very uncertain economic picture.” Economists Gopi Shah Goda and Evan Soltas estimated that 500,000 Americans had left the labor force by June due to Covid. This led the labor force participation rate to fall by 0.2 percentage points, equivalent to the number of baby boomers retiring each year. The lost labor supply from Long Covid is estimated to amount to $62 billion per year, equivalent to half the lost earnings from illnesses like cancer and diabetes. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell suggested that Long Covid may contribute to a shortfall in the US labor force. While most of this shortfall is due to people retiring earlier than expected, Powell said that “some of the participation gap” can be attributed to Long Covid. He also noted that other factors contributing to the shortfall include a decrease in net immigration to the US and an increase in deaths during the pandemic.

What do you think about long covid? And is it a severe issue for the long-term health of the economy?

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