August 28, 2020 - Congratulations are due to Dr. Suqin Ge who has recently had a paper accepted for publication in Frontiers of Economics in China.  The paper, “Social Distancing, Labor Market Outcomes, and Job Characteristics in the COVID-19 Pandemic”, joint with Yu Zhou, investigates the role of job characteristics on an individual’s decisions to self-isolate, work, and apply for unemployment insurance in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic. They construct each job’s capacity to work from home and its physical proximity in the workplace by using information on job attributes from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network. Daily data that track millions of mobile devices and their movements across physical locations are used to measure whether the mobile devices leave their homes, or part-time or full-time at work each day, and they also collect data on weekly unemployment insurance claims. They find that the presence of jobs with high work-from-home capacity in a region increases the ability of people to self-isolate and decreases their unemployment risk, whereas the presence of jobs with high physical proximity decreases the incidences of self-isolation and unemployment and increases the incidence of work during the pandemic. These heterogeneous responses based on local job characteristics persist even conditional on a broad set of demographic and socioeconomic variables, such as gender, race, education and income.