In April, another 20.5 million jobs were lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This decline is the biggest loss since the Great Depression and a massive leap from March’s loss of 870,000 jobs. This surge in job losses comes as no surprise as more than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment claims since the end of March. The unemployment rate also ticked up 10.3%, for a total unemployment rate of 14.7% in March. This unemployment rate is the largest month-to-month increase since the BLS started tracking these statistics. Here is a brief overview of the April Jobs Report.
April 2020 Jobs Report Summary
These job losses are over double the losses recorded during the 2008 financial crises and the steepest decline since the government began recording this data in 1939. After the 2008 Financial Crises, the U.S. added 22.8 million jobs in a decade, but sadly, the Coronavirus has wiped out (at least temporarily) a decade’s worth of gains.
The industries hit the hardest last month was Leisure and Hospitality (7.7 million), Education and Health Services (2.5 million), Professional and Business Services (2.1 million), Retail Trade (2.1 million), Manufacturing (1.3 million), Government (980,000), and Construction (975,000).
Despite all of the job losses, average hourly earnings increased by $1.34, to $30.01 an hour. This increase is the result of essential workers earning hazard pay and lower-paid workers, unfortunately, losing their jobs.
Job Gain Revisions
In both February and March, total nonfarm payroll employment was revised down. In February, job gains revised down from +275,000 to +230,000, and in March, job losses revised from -701,000 to -870,000. These combined changes were 214,000 jobs lower than previously reported.
Light at the end of the tunnel
There is no disputing the stark outlook based on statistics from the BLS over the last three months. However, on a more positive note, we should hopefully start seeing a comeback in several states. In fact, 19 states are now only in a partial lockdown and are beginning to reopen. In states like these, thousands of Americans will thankfully get back to work and return to a little normalcy. Some of the businesses that have been hit hardest, such as restaurants, dental offices, and construction, can open back up. That is a significant step in the right direction for our country.
The curves are starting to flatten in many states; it finally feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are all in this together and must continue to be patient. We will overcome this and come out stronger and more united as a nation.