Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Peter McHenry

Committee Members

Rui Pereira

Elyas Bakhtiari


The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically disrupted the United States labor market, and many commentators have interpreted the ongoing labor dynamics as evidence of a "Great Resignation", emphasizing workers' dissatisfaction with their employment situation as a significant instigator of labor market uncertainty. In this paper, I develop an indexed "lousiness" score for a given occupation based on occupational survey data. I then track the rebound in employment and labor force participation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic for workers within "lousy" and "non-lousy" occupations, revealing a sizable gap between their respective rates of return throughout 2020 and 2021. I then use industry-level data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey to calculate aggregated hiring and quit rates over time, revealing a larger increase in employee-initiated churn rates for industries with a high concentration of "lousy" occupations since the summer of 2020. This supports the perception that employee concerns about flexibility, safe working conditions, and emotional stress are affecting their employment choices and labor force participation rates to a greater degree than before COVID-19.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.