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ISSN 2071-789X

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  • General Founder and Publisher:

    Centre of Sociological Research


  • Publishing Partners:

    University of Szczecin (Poland)

    Széchenyi István University, (Hungary)

    Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania)

    Alexander Dubcek University of Trencín (Slovak Republic)

  • Membership:

    American Sociological Association

    European Sociological Association

    World Economics Association (WEA)




Viruses don't need a passport to affect labor markets – findings from a Polish-German study on combating unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic

Vol. 16, No 2, 2023

Steffen Flessa


University of Greifswald, 




Viruses don't need a passport to affect labor markets – findings from a Polish-German study on combating unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic


Małgorzata Porada-Rochoń


University of Szczecin, 



ORCID 0000-0002-3082-5682

Julia Kuntosch


University of Greifswald,



Iga Rudawska


University of Szczecin, Poland


ORCID 0000-0002-2173-931X



Abstract. Labor markets have been strongly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Much empirical evidence exists on how they operated since the COVID-19 outbreak, illustrated predominantly by public statistics. However, there is limited primary research on labor market stakeholders who experienced significant changes in border regions. The aim of this study is to explore the perceptions and experiences of labor market experts, especially entrepreneurs, regarding labor market functioning in border regions of Poland and Germany after the COVID-19 outbreak. The main focus has been put on examining how the COVID-19 crisis affected enterprises in terms of employment and how the labor market stakeholders assessed mitigation measures undertaken in the border regions. The study utilizes a mix-method approach. Primary data have been gathered through an online questionnaire targeted at entrepreneurs and labor officers in Germany. Next, a qualitative descriptive study design has been developed, involving one-on-one interviews and focused discussions. The analysis revealed several positive and negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the functioning of the labor market in border regions. The study explored differences in the management of the unemployment crisis in Poland and Germany in measures undertaken to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic. Crucial issues, such as cross-border cooperation and communication have also been discussed. The study highlights the role of labor market stakeholders’ perceptions and experiences in defining future cross-border joint preparatory plans and strategies to combat potential threats and unpredictable situations. The findings of the study revealed that there is a strong need to establish cross-border cooperation in terms of tackling unemployment. It has also been indicated that border regions need an approach to combating crises such as pandemics that differs from that of other interior regions. That highlights the importance of joint security policy adaptations and the need to develop joint preparatory and support plans, especially for entrepreneurs. Study findings could also be helpful for regional policymakers by providing a better understanding of border-region labor market issues. Thus, policymakers, both in Poland and Germany, should focus their economic policies more on border regions cooperation to prepare for future economic crises and disruptive situations.


Received: December, 2022

1st Revision: March, 2023

Accepted: June, 2023


DOI: 10.14254/2071-789X.2023/16-2/6

JEL ClassificationD02, O17, P31

Keywords: cost of illness, cost of pandemic, COVID-19 pandemic, crisis, labor market, measures