- June 1, 2020: Vol. 32, Number 6

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Job losses in April reach levels not seen since Great Depression

by Loretta Clodfelter

The U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The unemployment rate, which was at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent prior to the outbreak, reached a level not seen since the Great Depression. The number of unemployed people rose to 23.1 million in April. Efforts to contain the spreading coronavirus led to widespread business shutdowns over the past month. Among the unemployed, 18.1 million reported being on temporary layoff and 2.0 million reported their layoff was permanent.

The BLS establishment survey reported a loss of 20.5 million jobs in April, and job losses in March were revised to 870,000. In February, the U.S. economy added 230,000 jobs.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed what we already knew: The coronavirus is taking a terrible toll on the U.S. economy,” states Calvin Schnure, senior economist at Nareit.

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