- Among respondents who were employed four months ago, 89.1 percent were still employed in March 2020, compared to 96.7 percent in November 2019 and 92.4 percent in March 2019. This decline was due to an uptick in transitions into unemployment (from 3.4 percent in March 2019 to 5.7 percent), as well as an increase in transitions out of the labor force (from 4.2 percent in March 2019 to 5.3 percent); both series reached new highs. The increase in each series was broad-based across age, education, and income groups.
- The proportion of individuals who reported searching for a job in the past four weeks rebounded from a series low of 16.2 percent in November 2019 to 21.3 percent in March 2020.
- The average expected likelihood of moving into unemployment over the next four months, for those who are currently employed, increased from 1.73 percent to 3.98 percent, the highest reading since the start of the series in July 2014.
- The average reservation wage—the lowest wage respondents would be willing to accept for a new job—declined from $64,330 in November 2019 to $61,737 in March 2020. The decline was broad-based across age, education, and income groups.
The SCE Labor Market Survey is fielded every four months as a rotating module of the Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). The data are updated online three times per year as results come in, and an annual New York Fed press release, issued following the July survey, highlights notable changes and trends.