IZA Discussion Paper No. 15475

Disparities in Labour Market and Income Trends during the First Year of the COVID-19 Crisis – Evidence from Germany

This paper studies inequalities in labour market outcomes, incomes and economic concerns across workers in Germany during the first year of the COVID-19 crisis using SOEP-CoV data. It shows that, overall, the self-employed and disadvantaged groups of workers were more severely affected by the crisis, including part-time workers and workers in marginal employment (Minijobs), low-educated and low-income workers, and to some extent women. Short-time work (Kurzarbeit), one of the central pillars of Germany’s policy response to the crisis, prevented a further widening of labour market inequalities. In spite of the widespread use of Kurzarbeit, about one-in-five low-income workers who had been employed in 2019 were out of work in January/February 2021. This reflects that a higher share of low-income workers had been on part-time contracts and in Minijobs, and had lower capacity to work from home.

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