While each week since the coronavirus crisis took hold has brought new, devastating data revealing how more than 33 million of workers have filed for unemployment as the pandemic forces business closures and layoffs on a catastrophic scale, Friday’s numbers paint a much fuller picture of the staggering toll the coronavirus has taken on the American labor market—here’s what we learned, and what it tells us about how the economy will recover.
In the month of April, the unemployment rate shot up to an eye-watering 14.7% as the American economy ground to a halt, with 20.5 million jobs eliminated—that’s nearly every job created over the past decade, gone in a single month.
This revelation came as no surprise to economists: most were anticipating an unemployment rate of 16%, with some 22 million jobs lost.
It’s a staggering blow, especially given that just two months ago, the unemployment rate was sitting at a 50-year low and the United States had been adding jobs every month for nearly a decade.
The leisure and hospitality sectors saw the biggest losses, with 7.7 million jobs lost; as in March, the restaurant and hotel industries bore the brunt of the impact.
The retail industry, which has seen a number of high profile bankruptcies this month, saw 2.1 million losses.
Overall, 18.1 million people were laid off temporarily (a tenfold increase from last month), while 2 million layoffs were permanent.