Job search during a pandemic recession: Survey evidence from the Netherlands

Mária Balgová, Simon Trenkle*, Christian Zimpelmann, Nico Pestel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Downloads (Pure)


This paper studies job search behavior in the midst of a pandemic recession. We use long-running panel data from the Netherlands (LISS) and complement the core survey with our own COVID-specific module, conducted in June 2020. The survey provides data on the job search effort in terms of the number of applications of employed as well as unemployed respondents. We estimate an empirical model of job search over the business cycle over the period 2008–2019 to explore the gap between predicted and actual job search behavior in 2020. We find that job search during the pandemic recession differs strongly from previous downturns. The unemployed search significantly less than what we would normally observe during a recession of this size. For the employed, the propensity to search is even greater than what we would expect, but those who do search make significantly fewer job applications. Expectations about the duration of the pandemic seem to play a key role in explaining job search effort for the unemployed in 2020. Furthermore, employed individuals whose work situation has been affected by COVID-19 are searching more actively for a new job.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102142
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalLabour Economics
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

JEL classifications

  • j21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
  • j64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
  • j68 - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies: Public Policy


  • COVID-19
  • job search
  • labor supply
  • survey

Cite this