Employment responses to the COVID-19 crisis differed widely across German local labour markets at the beginning of the pandemic, with differences in short-time work rates of up to 20 percentage points. We show that digital capital, and to a lesser extent working-from-home, were essential for the resilience of local labour markets. Using an empirical strategy that combines a difference-in-differences approach with propensity score weighting, we find that local exposure to digital capital reduced short-time work usage by up to 4 percentage points and the effect lasted for about 8 months. Working-from-home potential lowered short-time work rates, but only in local labour markets exposed to digital capital, and in the first four months of the pandemic when a strict lockdown was in place. Differences in unemployment rates across local labour markets were at most 2 percentage points and did not depend on digital capital or working-from-home potential.
Ben Yahmed, Sarra, Francesco Berlingieri and Eduard Brüll (2022), Adjustments of Local Labour Markets to the COVID-19 Crisis: the Role of Digitalisation and Working-from-Home, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 22-031, Mannheim.