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Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in COVID-19 infections isn't motivating more workers to exit the workforce.

Why it matters: Fear of falling ill or spreading the virus has been the primary reason millions of Americans have either left their jobs or halted their job searches.

By the numbers: According to the Census’ Household Pulse Survey (conducted July 21 to August 2) 2.48 million Americans said they were not working because they were "concerned about getting or spreading the coronavirus."

  • This is down from the 2.82 million print from the prior survey (June 23 to July 5).
  • This number peaked at 6.24 million in July 2020 but has trended lower ever since.

Zoom out: The recent month’s decline comes at a time when more Americans got vaccinated.

  • From July 5 to August 2, the number of fully vaccinated people in the U.S. increased by 7.4 million to 164.9 million.

What to watch: Through July, the labor force participation rate was still below pre-pandemic levels. If fewer workers are concerned about the virus, labor force participation should be expected to rise.

  • The next update on this metric will come with the August jobs report, scheduled for Sept. 3.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Booster shots overtake first doses in the U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate entire Brazilian city as part of study — FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adultsU.S. to lift restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8.
  2. Health: New cases down, but the West is at risk — Low vaccination rates exacerbate America's caregiving crisis — COVID is here to stay. So what does "victory" look like? — FDA will review Merck COVID-19 pill.
  3. Politics: NHL announces all but four players have been vaccinated — WHO names new advisory group on COVID origins — Biden admin warns Moderna to "step up" global vaccine supply.
  4. Education: LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations amid staffing shortage — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive — Arizona can't use aid for anti-mask education grants, Treasury says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 15, 2021 - Health

State COVID lotteries did not increase vaccination rates, study finds

California Gov. Gavin Newsom at a drawing for the state's Vax for the Win program in June. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

None of the 19 states that implemented statewide COVID-19 vaccine lotteries this summer saw an increase in vaccination rates as a result of the incentive programs, according to a study published Friday in Jama Health Forum.

Why it matters: The study is the first to examine the effectiveness of 19 state-run lotteries, and offers insight into how governments can better craft incentive-based policies, said Andrew Friedson, one of the study's authors and an associate professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 15, 2021 - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.