Raj Chetty, a Harvard University economist and 2019 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, has helped develop a data tracker for measuring the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Featured in the Wall Street Journal, the interactive tracker reflects a wide variety of economic indicators such as declines in job postings, consumer spending, and hours worked in small businesses. Nationwide job postings, for example, have fallen about 40 percent since January with positions aimed at workers without college degrees showing the steepest drop. The data can be broken down further by state, county, and metropolitan area.

Chetty created the economic data tracker with a team of researchers at Opportunity Insights, a research institute aimed at improving social mobility that he cofounded and leads, to fill a gap in real-time data on how the pandemic is affecting the economy. He told the Wall Street Journal that he was struck by how policymakers were able to measure the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but they have “no comparable set of tools on the economic side.”

Noting that the pandemic caused considerable economic impact even in places with lower infection rates, Chetty added, “The economic impacts seem broader, and not perfectly correlated with where people are focused in terms of public health.”

Increased levels of unemployment have led to longer lines at a food pantry in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. (Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)