Discussion paper

DP17067 Search and Reallocation in the Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from the UK

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK labour market has been extremely heterogeneous across occupation and industrial sectors. Using novel data on job search, we document how individuals adjust their job search behaviour in response to changing employment patterns across occupations and industries in the UK. We observe that workers changed their search direction in favour of expanding occupations and industries as the pandemic developed. This suggests job searchers do respond to occupation-wide and industry-wide conditions in addition to idiosyncratic career concerns. However, non-employed workers and those with low education levels are more attached to their previous occupations and more likely to target declining ones. We also see workers from declining occupations making fewer transitions to expanding occupations than those who start in such occupations, despite targeting these jobs relatively frequently. This suggests those at the margins of the labour market may be least able to escape occupations that declined during the pandemic.


Carrillo-Tudela, C, C Comunello, A Clymo, A Jaeckle, L Visschers and D Zentler-Munro (2022), ‘DP17067 Search and Reallocation in the Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from the UK‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17067. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17067