Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

William Lincoln

Reader 2

Heather Antecol

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2020 Mira Yoo


The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a spike in the unemployment rates across the United States, particularly for workers in occupations requiring physical interaction. Increases in the unemployment rates during the pandemic have been compared to the labor market during the Great Recession. This paper attempts to measure the differences in the unemployment rates for counties that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 to those that have not, based on their reported number of COVID-19 cases in counties. I calculate the effects of COVID-19 on unemployment using a difference-in-differences estimation with Local Area Unemployment Statistics data. Then, the main model is adjusted to account for other county-specific demographic variables. I find consistent results across the various approaches for the core variables of interest. The interaction term that represents counties with COVID-19 cases exceeding 0.75 percent of their total population, experience significantly higher unemployment rates after April 2020. However, the research fails to identify the factors tied to the unemployment spike which prompts the need for future research to clarify these factors. The current research is effective in calculating the magnitude of increase in unemployment rates produced from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.