How much lockdown policies contribute to local unemployment? Evidence from the first and second waves of COVID-19, Accessible Data

Figure 1a. COVID-19 cases

The x-axis of the chart starts in January of 2020 and ends in August of 2020. The y-axis denotes the number of daily new COVID-19 cases in ten-thousands. The light blue bars show the daily number of new cases. From January middle of March, the bars remain, essentially at zero. Starting in the middle of March, the bars show a sharp increase until the beginning of April, where there is a local maximum around 35000 daily cases. From early April to the middle of June, the bars show a gradual drop to around 20000 cases. Also, cyclical pattern appears, seemingly at a weekly frequency, where the bars increase, then drop at regular intervals likely due to reduced weekend reporting of new cases. This cyclical pattern persists for all bars after March. In the middle of June, there is a sharp increase in daily cases until early July with a global maximum of around 85000 cases. After July, there appears to be a decline to around 35000 daily cases by the end of August. The solid, medium blue line shows the seven-day moving average of new cases. This line smooths out the cyclical pattern of the bars following the same general pattern. From January to the middle of March, the line remains at zero, followed by an increase to a local maximum of a moving average of 32000 new daily cases. Starting in early April, the line gradually declines to show 20000 daily new cases before increasing dramatically to a global maximum of around 67000 daily new cases in the middle of July. After this maximum, the line decreases to just over 40000 daily cases at the end of August. Generally, when the number of daily cases is increasing, the bars dominate the line, but when the daily cases are decreasing, the line dominates the bars. This chart shows the two COVID waves with the first wave peaking in late March / early April and the second, more severe wave peaking in the middle of July.

Data source: Authors’ calculations based on data from the John’s Hopkins Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases Database.

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Figure 1b. Non-pharmaceutical interventions

The x-axis of the chart starts with January 18th, 2021 and ends on August 29th, 2021 at a weekly frequency. The y-axis of the chart shows the total number of active non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) implemented in the United States. There are seven types of NPIs shown with the stacked bars. Stay at home orders correspond to violet, non-essential business closures correspond to orange, school closures correspond to yellow, restaurant closures correspond to green, other business closures correspond to blue, gathering restrictions correspond to red and bar closures correspond to black. From January 18th through March 7th, there appear to be no NPIs of these categories enacted in the United states so there are no bars. Starting March 14th, the bar shows around 10 NPIs taking effect comprised predominantly of gathering restrictions with the rest being school closures. The bar for March 21st shows a jump to around 90 total NPIs with only a few stay at home orders and non-essential business closures, just over ten NPIs for each other business closures and gathering restrictions and just under 20 NPIs for each of the school closure, restaurant closure and bar closure categories. March 28th shows another jump to about 150 total NPIs where all seven categories show around 20 to 25 NPIs each. April 4th shows a few more stay at home orders to increase total NPIs to around 160 and the bars remain static until April 25th, when stay at home orders start do decline. Stay at home orders decline steadily until June 13th where there are about 120 total NPIs but no stay at home orders, with where each of the other categories have about 20 NPIs each. From June 13th to August 29th there is a marginal weekly decrease in school closures resulting in just under 100 total NPIs. Where non-essential business closures, restaurant closures, other business closures, gathering restrictions and bar closures each have just under 20 NPIs with the remainder belonging to school closures. This chart shows the rapid implementation of NPIs and the character of the NPIs being implemented. This indicates and emphasis on gathering restrictions, various types of business closures and restaurant / bar restrictions by their consistent and prolonged implementation.

Note. Categories are displayed in order from top to bottom. For March 14, only School and Gather appear

Source: Adolph et al. (2020).

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Figure 1c. Mobility and Engagement Index

The x axis of this chart starts in January of 2020 and ends August of 2020. The y-axis of this chart shows the Mobility and Engagement Index from the Dallas Fed. There is a solid blue line that fluctuates between -10 and 10 until early March. After early March there is a dramatic until early April where we see a global minimum of about -90. There is a continuous increase from the middle of April until early June where we see the line level off at around -30 until mid-August when there is a slight uptick ending at -20 by the end of August. This chart indicates that movement was curtailed during the first wave of the pandemic, but less so during the second wave. However, the movement index has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels on this chart.

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Figure 1d. Weekly U.S. initial claims

The x-axis of this chart begins in January of 2020 and ends August 2020. The y-axis shows the number of initial unemployment claims in millions. There is a solid blue line that remains slightly above 0 until the middle of March where there is a near vertical jump to just over seven million claims there is a slight decline to seven million claims at the beginning of April before there is a sharp decline until the end of April where it beings to level off at about 1.5 million initial claims. A gradual decline continues to one million claims at the end of August. This indicates a large unemployment spike in mid-March followed by a sustained but decreasing trend of new unemployment as the pandemic wore on.

Data source: FRED, St. Louis FED.

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Last Update: May 24, 2021