WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression, as 20.5 million jobs vanished in the worst monthly loss on record. The figures are stark evidence of the damage the coronavirus has done to a now-shattered economy.
The losses reflect what has become a severe recession caused by sudden business shutdowns in nearly every industry. Nearly all the job growth achieved during the 11-year recovery from the Great Recession has now been lost in one month.
The government’s report Friday noted that many people who lost jobs in April but didn’t look for another one weren’t even counted in the unemployment rate. The impact of those losses was reflected in the drop in the proportion of working-age Americans who have jobs: Just 51.3%, the lowest on record.
In addition to the millions of newly unemployed, 5.1 million others had their hours reduced in April. That trend, too, means less income and less spending, perpetuating the economic downturn. A measure of what’s called underemployment — which counts the unemployed plus full-time workers who were reduced to part-time work — reached 22.8%, a record high.
Though some businesses are beginning to reopen in certain states, factories, hotels, restaurants, resorts, sporting venues, movie theaters, and many small businesses are still largely shuttered. As companies have laid off tens of millions, lives have been upended across the country.
In the five weeks covered by the U.S. jobs report for April, 26.5 million people applied for unemployment benefits.
Source: Mountain Top