showCASE No. 107: COVID-19 Pandemic and Jobs – New Evidence From the Polish Labour Market


In this issue of showCASE, we analyse the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Polish labour market and discuss first results of study conducted jointly by CASE, Group for Research in Applied Economics (GRAPE), Wydział Zarządzania Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Badań Strukturalnych (IBS), Centre for Economic Analysis (CenEA), and Wydział Nauk Ekonomicznych Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. The results of the available surveys confirm that Polish workers have been significantly affected since the outbreak of COVID-19 in terms of jobs availability, work conditions, financial stability, and mental wellbeing. At the same time, government support programmes proved to be effective in cushioning negative effects and restoring Polish labour market after the lockdown.



Written by Izabela Styczyńska


The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic disrupted rapidly and significantly the world economies. The lockdown measures implemented to limit the spread of the virus have, in turn, affected the world labour markets. As a result, millions of people were left with no jobs, reduced or lost income, and insecurity about future job prospects, salaries, and working conditions.


Preliminary estimates of the International Labour Organization (ILO) suggest that the global workforce loss is around 200 million workers. The European Commission (EC) Spring 2020 Economic Forecasts estimate the shift in the EU-wide unemployment rate up to 9% in 2020, when compared to the 6.7% in 2019. Similarly, the Eurofound e-survey performed at the EU level in April 2020 has also revealed a rapid growth in unemployment, with 5% of the European respondents reporting losing their jobs permanently and 23% indicating a temporal job loss. Half of Europeans experienced a reduction in the working hours, especially in countries such as Romania, Italy, France, Cyprus, and Greece. The growing uncertainty around additional job losses is observed, whereas almost 40% of Europeans report that their financial situation has already worsened since pre-pandemic times. As a result, economic disruption, self-isolation, and loneliness experienced during the lockdown as well as uncertainty about the future have already negatively affected the mental well-being of the Europeans.


The question arises whether the Polish labour market has performed better or worse than other European economies. While data needed to answer this question remains scarce, an innovative study – – initiated by researchers of several Polish prominent institutions (including CASE) provides an almost real-time measure of the situation on the Polish labour market. Until now, two rounds of an e-survey have been performed with a next one already scheduled for the upcoming months. To ensure comparability of the results, the survey was based on the National Labour Force Survey (NLFS) performed by the Polish National Statistical Office (GUS). The first round of the information was gathered when the most severe restrictions imposed on the Polish economy were in place (i.e. in April 2020), while the second round of the e-survey took place in June 2020.


The results of the study allow to capture the most instant changes in the Polish labour market during the pandemic in order to support the immediate governmental responses to the crisis. Thus, the overall results of the survey show that the situation on the Polish labour market, albeit dramatic in April, has stabilised in June in parallel to the eased lockdown and fully active governmental support to the economy. Nevertheless, estimates show that thousands of working places are still at risk of being affected by the crisis in the nearest future.


Read / download the full issue of showCASE