Izvestiya of Saratov University.

Economics. Management. Law

ISSN 1994-2540 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1956 (Online)

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Employment and economic growth in the conditions of COVID-19 pandemics: Cross-country comparisons

Solodkaya Т. I., Saratov State University
Industriev М. А., Saratov State University

Introduction. The factor of a sharp slowdown in economic growth in almost all countries since the beginning of 2020 has been quite atypical. Whereas previously we had seen shocks mainly related to economic processes, this time the “black swan” was a public health emergency – the new coronavirus pandemic COVID-19. A feature of this crisis was the unprecedented measures of states to restrict the movement of citizens, as well as the suspension of the activities of both industrial enterprises and enterprises in the sphere of trade and services. The aim of this work is to make cross-country comparisons of the impact of increased unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on different countries’ economic growth. Theoretical analysis. The relationship between the actual output gap and potential and cyclical unemployment rates has traditionally been studied according to the well-known law of A. Okun. Okun’s Law can be viewed as a linear algebraic equation for the function of real gross domestic product (GDP). The essence of the law is that with an increase in cyclical unemployment, total output should decrease, since the number of people employed in GDP production falls. Empirical analysis. Cross-country comparisons of economic growth and characteristics of the labor market in Russia, the USA, China, Canada and Germany from 2000 to 2020, including the period of the new coronavirus infection pandemic, were carried out. Results. Based on the analysis of time series of GDP and the unemployment rate, it is shown that, depending on the depth and effectiveness of state support measures for business in terms of maintaining employment, deviations of the actual values of GDP from those calculated in accordance with Okun’s empirical law are observed. The largest and smallest deviations in real GDP changes from the predictions for the first half of 2020 have been recorded in Germany and Canada, respectively.

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