Job Turnover and the Policy Response in the COVID-19 Era
This paper examines job destruction and job creation over the course of 2019 and 2020. The detailed analysis, of both employers and employees, provides insights into the labour market impact arising from a period of unprecedented economic lockdowns and subsequent reopenings. Variation in job destruction rates during lockdown suggests more targeted supports by employer size may be warranted in future, particularly in the hospitality sector. Conversely, sectors exhibiting strong labour demand in 2020 have limited overlap with the sectoral profile of current Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) recipients, indicating that, absent a full and sustained reopening, targeted job-matching policies for the unemployed may meet with limited success. Younger employees had the highest rate of job destruction during lockdown but, notably, also the highest rate of job creation during reopening phases. Some groups, in aggregate, experienced no pandemic-related job turnover, including export-facing employers and employees earning average incomes or higher. In addition, the paper reviews the role played by the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and finds that the policy successfully prevented job destruction in the initial months of the pandemic. The analysis in the paper is made possible by exploiting the potential of a new, population-wide and real-time tax reporting system from the Revenue Commissioners.