The Current State of the US Labor Market as a Result of the Pandemic, Return to Work, and Potential Employment Litigation Risks
The global public health crisis associated with COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on the US economy. Some economists predict that the pandemic may send the economy into a decline that could exceed what was experienced during the 2008 financial crisis and could match the devastation of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Some have compared the impact on the economy and the anticipated economic recovery to taking the elevator down a hundred floors and getting back up using stairs. Others are debating whether the economic recovery will be “U” shaped, “V” shaped, or “W” shaped. Nevertheless, most agree that the pandemic will most likely have long-term effects on the US economy and on our way of work and life. When and how quickly the economy will start the recovery are yet to be seen.
Despite a continuation of the economic decline and many new cases of COVID-19 infections per day, active discussions and policy debates are taking place across the entire United States on ways to start and reopen the economy, allowing the US workforce to get back to work. The Trump administration and many states have issued preliminary guidelines and criteria for their own localities. As of mid-May 2020, most US states and a handful of localities had lifted or are planning to lift “stay-at-home” directives and reopen certain types of businesses in certain locations.