The Labor Supply by Marital Status under COVID-19 (An analysis of the Japanese Economy in 2020)

Author Name SHONO Yoshihisa (Consulting Fellow, RIETI) / SUGAI Kaoru (Consulting Fellow, RIETI) / HASEBE Takuya (Sophia University, METI)
Creation Date/NO. December 2021 21-P-021
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In this paper, we aim to contribute to accumulating evidence of the labor market conditions and households under COVID-19 in Japan. Specifically, we conduct descriptive analysis using the microdata of the Labor Force Survey, which are official government statistics in Japan, by focusing on marital status. Having a spouse has a risk-sharing function in terms of income shocks as Weiss (1977) pointed out, thus marital status is one of the most important factors to comprehend welfare under COVID-19. We find the following results. First, the number of female non-regular workers who were absent from work increased during the first state of emergency (April and May, 2020). The share of married women among those who were non-regular workers aged 25 to 64 and absent from work in April (or May) was 70%, and the share differs by age. Second, the annual incomes of the husbands whose spouses were non-regular workers and absent from work in April were diverse; 15% of the husbands earned less than 2.99 million yen, while 27% of them earned more than 7 million yen. On the other hand, 65% of single women who were non-regular workers earned less than 2 million yen and 90% of them earned less than 3 million yen before COVID-19. In addition, the average annual income of single women who were non-regular workers and absent from work in April is estimated to be 1.3 million yen. Third, the workers who joined the non-labor force category between March and April were mostly married women, and the transition probability of married women from being labor force to non-labor force was significantly higher than that of single women. Fourth, the increase in unemployment toward October was mainly accounted for by the increase in unemployment among single men. The monthly increases in the unemployment probability among single men relative to January were significantly higher than among married men after June.