How other countries handled their coronavirus jobs crises : The Indicator from Planet Money Not all countries approached the COVID-19 economic crisis the way the U.S. did. How different strategies on unemployment had radically different outcomes.

How Other Countries Handled Their Jobs Crises

How Other Countries Handled Their Jobs Crises

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Jan Woitas/Picture alliance via Getty Images
11 June 2020, Saxony, Leipzig: An employee wipes the last BMW i8 with a cloth at the end of the production line. (Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Jan Woitas/Picture alliance via Getty Images

There are about 21 million fewer people with jobs in the U.S. than there were back in February, right before coronavirus hit and began devastating the economy.

Did it have to be this way? Were there policies that could have prevented this catastrophe in the labor market while the virus was attacking the country's public health?

One way to think about that question is to compare what happened in the U.S. to what happened in other countries. Martha Gimbel of Schmidt Futures compared America's response to that of Germany, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Canada and Australia. Today she tells us which countries did better than others at keeping people employed. And she shares with us an idea that seems to be working in some of those countries — an idea that could be used a lot more in the U.S., if only more businesses and workers would try it.

You can read Martha's paper with Danny Yagan and Jesse Rothstein here:

To learn more about Germany's Kurzarbeit work-sharing program, check out the Planet Money newsletter:

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.