• Karl Petrick

COVID-19 and Unemployment

This week, I did a special lecture to my Principles of Macroeconomics classes about the March 2020 unemployment report that was published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics department on Friday, April 3. Some big changes have happened since the February report and we can see the initial effect of the profound economic slowdown that we are experiencing as states respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the economic changes that have happened, like many my university campus is shut and all classes are now online. Given that, I thought that I'd give a go at putting a slightly modified version of that talk out to (hopefully) a wider audience. This is Part 1. As I am assuming no special knowledge (or maybe you took a Principles class a long time ago, or are a current student and just can't remember some of the stuff you learned this semester), I will post a second blog about how we calculate the unemployment data in the BLS report and the strengths and weaknesses of that approach.

All comments and questions welcome. My email is If I get enough questions, I'll post a video reply that addresses your comments. At the very least, I'll email you back. At least let me know someone besides my wife watched this.

And I am happy for suggestions for other topics going forward.

Apologies for the occasional muffling in the audio. It's a problem with the site that my university is using for online material. Hopefully they'll figure that out. And lastly, the squeaking that you sometimes hear in the background is my desk chair that needs some DW-40.

BTW: on Slide 3 I say that the data goes back to March 2017. It goes back to March 2007.

Stay safe,


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