Berlin, London, Madrid and Paris are engines of productivity growth that have long been magnets for young and skilled workers. COVID-19 has brought this boom to a halt. Indeed job posting data offer an unparalleled view of how the pandemic has transformed labour markets in Europe’s four largest capitals at the start of 2021.
In the early stages of the pandemic, the focus was squarely on cities. Urban density and shared spaces contributed to surging case numbers and deaths: before June, the rise in excess deaths was more than three times higher in large metropolitan areas compared to remote regions. But rural areas still reeled from the economic impacts. Businesses closed to comply with containment measures, trade slowed, and tourism activity all but ceased.