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Economy Loses 700,000 Jobs as Unemployment Shoots Higher

Official numbers are in showing the initial effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on jobs, and…

  • April 21, 2020

Official numbers are in showing the initial effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on jobs, and those numbers paint a bleak picture.

According to the Labor Department, the economy lost 701,000 in March, as the unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent.

The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to contain it.

Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 459,000, mainly in food services and drinking places. Notable declines also occurred in health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.

In March, the unemployment rate increased by 0.9 percentage point to 4.4 percent. This is the largest over-the-month increase in the rate since January 1975, when the increase was also 0.9 percentage point. The number of unemployed persons rose by 1.4 million to 7.1 million in March.

The sharp increases in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus and efforts to contain it.

Unemployment Rates Rose Among All Major Worker Groups

In March, unemployment rates rose among all major worker groups. The rate was 4.0 percent for adult men, 4.0 percent for adult women, 14.3 percent for teenagers, 4.0 percent for Whites, 6.7 percent for Blacks, 4.1 percent for Asians, and 6.0 percent for Hispanics.

The number of unemployed persons who reported being on temporary layoff more than doubled in March to 1.8 million. The number of permanent job losers increased by 177,000 to 1.5 million.

The number of unemployed persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks increased by 1.5 million in March to 3.5 million, accounting for almost half of the unemployed.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.2 million, was little changed in March and represented 15.9 percent of the unemployed.