One feature that distinguishes the COVID-19 recession from the Great Recession, according to Chicago Booth’s Matthew J. Notowidigdo, is that a huge portion of the job losses in the current crisis have been temporary layoffs—the unemployed workers expect to end up back at their former employer sooner or later. But how many of those temporary layoffs turn into permanent ones? Notowidigdo finds that laid-off workers have been returning to work at a very high rate, thereby avoiding the damaging effects of long-term unemployment that plagued so many during the last recession.

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