Working Papers

2021-17 | July 2021


The Unemployed with Jobs and without Jobs


Potential workers are classified as unemployed if they seek work but are not working. The unemployed population contains two groups---those with jobs and those without jobs. Those with jobs are on furlough or temporary layoff. This group expanded tremendously in April 2020. They wait out periods of non-work with the understanding that their jobs still exist and that they will be recalled. We show that the resulting temporary-layoff unemployment dissipates quickly following a spike. Potential workers without jobs constitute what we call jobless unemployment. Shocks that elevate jobless unemployment have much more persistent effects. Historical major adverse shocks, such as the financial crisis in 2008, created mostly jobless unemployment and consequently caused extended periods of elevated unemployment. The pandemic of 2020 created a large volume of temporary-layoff unemployment, mostly starting in April. It was mostly dissipated by the end of 2020. It also created a bulge in jobless unemployment.

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Article Citation

Hall, Robert E, and Marianna Kudlyak. 2021. "The Unemployed with Jobs and without Jobs," Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2021-17. Available at