Jobless rate spikes to 14.7%, highest since Great Depression

20.5 million jobs have vanished in the worst monthly loss on record.

News 12 Staff

May 8, 2020, 10:13 AM

Updated 1,475 days ago

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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. Almost all the job growth achieved during the 11-year recovery from the Great Recession has now been lost in one month.
The collapse of the job market has occurred with stunning speed. As recently as February, the unemployment rate was a five-decade low of 3.5%, and employers had added jobs for a record 113 months. In March, the unemployment rate was just 4.4%
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.
Thursday, reports showed more than 3 million jobless claims were filed in the United States last week alone.
In New York, close to 200,000 filed for unemployment last week which means there are now about 1.8 million New Yorkers out of a job.
In the Hudson Valley, just under 170,000 people have filed for unemployment.
While today's numbers will be jaw dropping they are certainly not unexpected as there has been mass business closures during the pandemic.
Financial experts say a key question is where does the U.S. job market go from here. There are some reports that show that, while applications for unemployment aid have been high, they are starting to see a steady decline which could be a sign that the worst of the layoffs has passed.
Labor department officials say a lot of jobs were lost all at once as everything shut down, but we'll be regaining a lot of jobs as businesses reopen.
AP wires were used in this report
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