The Path Through: Early COVID-19 Job Loss and Labour Market Trajectories in Austria


Stefan Jestl and Maryna Tverdostup

wiiw Working Paper No. 246, May 2024
45 pages including 13 Tables and 7 Figures

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This paper examines the socio-demographic disparities evident in the early labour market response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria, relying on the register-based labour market career dataset from the Austrian Micro Data Center (AMDC) for the 2018-2021 period. The analysis focuses on the divergences in out-of-unemployment transitions and medium-term employment stability among those who lost their jobs early in the pandemic in contrast to the group of the longer-term unemployed. We document that individuals affected by job loss during the initial phases of the pandemic did not exhibit enduring scarring effects. Unlike their longer-term unemployed counterparts, they did not demonstrate persistent labour market detachment, prolonged periods of unemployment or a diminished success rate in re-employment. However, certain socio-demographic cohorts – notably, women, parents with two or more young children, and individuals with lower levels of education – faced disproportionate challenges during the pandemic. They were more inclined to transition into precarious employment arrangements and experienced lower levels of employment stability in the months following re-employment.


Keywords: COVID-19, employment stability, gender inequalities, labour market transitions, unemployment

JEL classification: E24, J16, J21, I24

Countries covered: Austria

Research Areas: Labour, Migration and Income Distribution