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Pandemic destroys 20.5 mn US jobs in April in historic collapse

08 May 2020, MVT 20:04
The coronavirus arrived in the US early this year, followed by deaths, business shutdowns and layoffs, rendering a previously healthy economy unrecognizable. Data from the government and private surveys has shown that the economic damage is deep and may take years to recover from, but on Friday, a new Labor Department survey is expected to show unemployment spiking, perhaps to as high as 20 percent. PHOTO: AFP
08 May 2020, MVT 20:04

The coronavirus lockdown wiped out 20.5 million US jobs in April, destroying nearly all the positions created in the prior decade in the world's largest economy, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The unprecedented collapse drove the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent -- well beyond the peak hit in late 2009 during the global financial crisis -- from 4.4 percent in March.

And job losses in March were worse than initially reported, falling 870,000 even though the business closures mostly happened in the second half of the month.

The plunge in nonfarm payroll employment was the largest ever recorded since 1939, while the jobless rate was the highest and the biggest increase since 1948, the report said.

Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality, the first sector hit and the one bearing the brunt of the impact of the lockdowns.

However, the Labor Department noted that the some workers were misclassified in the report as employed when they should have been counted as laid off. Had they been listed properly, the unemployment rate would have been nearly five percentage points higher.

Washington, United States | AFP

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