COVID-19 Continues to Hammer US Economy as 20.5M Americans Lose Jobs in April

by Alex Tostado

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as the COVID-19 outbreak continued to wreak havoc. The leisure and hospitality sector was particularly hard hit, losing 47 percent of its workforce in April.

The BLS also reports the unemployment rate jumped from 4.4 percent in March to 14.7 percent in April, the highest since February 2011. The total number of jobs lost is the highest since records began in 1939.

The leisure and hospitality sector lost 7.7 million jobs in April compared with a loss of 2.5 million jobs for the education and health services sector, the next hardest hit segment. Retail trade lost 2.1 million jobs with the heaviest losses coming in the clothing and clothing accessories stores (minus 740,000). Similarly, the professional and business services segment lost 2.1 million jobs.

The BLS also noted that the number of people out of work but seeking employment in April was 9.9 million, nearly double the prior month.

As alarming as the labor numbers were for April, they were better than expected. Economists from the Wall Street Journal had collectively forecast a loss of 22 million jobs.

The BLS also revised the job figures for February and March. Employers added 45,000 fewer jobs in February than previously reported for a net gain of 230,000 jobs. The total job loss figure for March was revised from 701,000 to 870,000.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by $1.34 month-over-month to $30.01.

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