The IRS report estimates that there will be about 229.4 million W-2 jobs made in 2020, about 37 million fewer than the year before. The figure is a forecast of how many W-2 tax forms — which show employee wages and witholding —the agency respects to receive in the 2021 calendar year.
Beyond 2021, the IRS sees lower W-2 filings persisting throughout 2027, with nearly 16 million fewer forms expected to be filed in that year compared to 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
To be sure, W-2 forms are not a perfect measure of employment as people with multiple jobs are expected to file one for each position held in the year. Still, the IRS forecast shows that it may take the US economy years to recover from the coronavirus pandemic recession —the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
There is one category of tax forms that the IRS sees growing in the coming years — tax forms for gig workers. The IRS forecasts that there will be 1.6 million more 1099-MISC forms filed in 2020 from 2019.