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COVID-19 impact on job losses in Portugal: who are the hardest-hit?

Ana Sofia Lopes (CARME – Centre of Applied Research in Management and Economics, ESTG, Polytechnic of Leiria, Leiria, Portugal)
Pedro Carreira (ESTG, Polytechnic of Leiria, Leiria, Portugal)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 27 December 2021

Issue publication date: 10 August 2022




The COVID-19 pandemic caused job losses to rise dramatically. Herein, the purpose of the article is to identify which personal and job characteristics make individuals more vulnerable or more resilient to COVID-19 unemployment in Portugal and thus to help policymakers, organizations and individuals themselves, in creating mechanisms to avoid unemployment within this new context.


Using extensive personal and job-related data on the complete population of newly unemployed in Portugal over several months after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, a logit model is estimated to identify the characteristics that make workers more resilient or more vulnerable to COVID-19 unemployment, in comparison with the pre-crisis period.


The COVID-19 crisis is shown to be disruptive by changing the unemployment structure, increasing socioeconomic inequalities and weakening traditional mechanisms of employment protection. Additionally, the authors identify a higher vulnerability of low-skilled individuals and of those in occupations with low working-from-home feasibility and/or from non-essential sectors (particularly tourism).

Practical implications

Policy indications are given aiming to protect the most vulnerable individuals, sectors and regions in Portugal, in this new and unprecedented context.


A seven-month period following the emergence of the pandemic is considered, which allows investigating both the immediate and the medium-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis on job losses. Additionally, by matching data from three different sources, an extensive set of multilevel variables is considered, some of them new in the literature.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Institute of Employment and Professional Training and Professor Pedro Martins for the authorization to use their databases, which were essential for the investigation.

Reference Funding: This work was supported by the FCT–Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology [grant number: UIDB/04928/2020].


Lopes, A.S. and Carreira, P. (2022), "COVID-19 impact on job losses in Portugal: who are the hardest-hit?", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 43 No. 5, pp. 1265-1282.



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