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Potential Research Related to COVID-19

By Skylar Scott, Researcher
May 13, 2020


Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels

As of May 7th, 5,724 Utahan’s have tested positive for Covid-19. Among those who have contracted corona virus, unfortunately, 61 reported deaths have occurred (Utah Department of Health, 2020). To mitigate the spread of the virus, initial closures of business occurred on March 16th. Since then, the Utah Data Research Center and many other state agencies have been following the stay at home directives announced by Governor Herbert.

As a result of the quarantine, Utah and the nation’s economy has slowed, with some industries coming to a complete halt. An unprecedented amount of new unemployment claims have been filed with 3.169 million new claims on the week of May 2nd nationally, and 11,738 initial claims in Utah on the week of April 28th. To put that figure into context, figure 1 below is the history of new unemployment claims in Utah over the past year (U.S. Employment and Training Administration, 2020).

Initial Unemployment Claims

Figure 1: Initial unemployment claims in Utah (April 27, 2019 – April 28, 2020)

The long-term effects on the health, employment and life of Utahan’s are still unknown. However, we’re committed to providing valuable research on the effects of the Covid-19 as data becomes available. We believe that data informed decisions for individuals, businesses, and policy makers are the best decisions. With that belief in mind, potential research projects that may be done in the future include:

  • Economic impact of the virus from deaths and loss of business
  • The impact on, changes, and distribution of the labor force across different industries
  • Change in workforce training and post-secondary education
  • Potential permanent business closures
  • The effectiveness of stimulus policy and unemployment
  • The impact on K-12 education, ACT scores, and post-secondary enrollment

These potential projects only scratch the surface of the work that could be done on the impacts of coronavirus. As a researcher, I would love to get started on these studies immediately, but unfortunately data collection takes time. For example, wage records are collected through the unemployment insurance program and recorded on a quarterly basis. After they are received, it typically takes one quarter for us to receive complete wage records to begin analysis. So, the quarter ending in July would not be received until September. Because changes in health, unemployment, and policy are occurring so quickly to begin to understand the economic impact we would need to have at least several quarters of data. With that process in mind, I wouldn’t anticipate research related to the coronavirus to begin until 2021. However, as projects are approved, and published we will be sure to keep you up-to-date, and informed.


U.S. Employment and Training Administration “Initial Claims in Utah (UTICLAIMS)” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (2020)

Utah Department of Health “Overview of COVID-19 Surveillance” May 8th 2020.

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