WPI Labor Day Report 2020

Prior Workplace Policy Institute (WPI) Labor Day Reports focused on key employment developments and trends to provide employers with insight on the state of work and what to expect in the coming year. Employers need no reminder that 2020 is unlike any year they have ever experienced.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed employment. The unemployment rate hit historic levels in recent months. Those able to work are juggling family care obligations, new safety protocols, and work environments—whether remote or on-site—that bear little resemblance to their prior workspaces. Employers, meanwhile, are struggling to remain in business and/or resume operations amid varying shutdown orders, significant decreased demand for goods and services, new leave and accommodation requirements, stringent reopening guidelines, and potential liability stemming from coronavirus-related claims. Many businesses have shut their doors for good.

The challenges employees and employers continue to face this Labor Day are enormous and unprecedented. Even when the coronavirus is finally behind us, many of these challenges will remain. Accordingly, this year’s Labor Day Report necessarily focuses on the state of employment in the context of the global pandemic.

Part I of this Report provides a snapshot of the current jobs market. This section includes data on unemployment and which jobs and worker demographics have been most impacted.

Part II discusses ways in which the nature of work has changed.

Part III provides an overview of the types of claims employers are facing in light of COVID-19.

Part IV addresses federal and state efforts to manage the employment-related aspects of the crisis.

Part V offers some factors that may provide clues about where the economy is headed. While it is impossible to predict with any certainty what employers can expect in the months ahead, this section discusses some benchmarks that may be instructive.

We hope this Report is informative, and that next year’s Labor Day Report will look very different.

Click here for a full copy of the Report.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.