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Covid-19 puts US unemployment rate over 14%

May 8, 2020 United States
Covid-19 puts US unemployment rate over 14%
According to the US Department of Labour 20 million Americans lost their jobs in April in what is the worst month since the Great Depression
The entity reporting on the Labour statistics in the US confirmed that more than 20 million people in the US lost their jobs in April, which resulted in the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression. According to the same source, the US unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, which compares to 4.4% in March. In the last 6 weeks a total of 33 million Americans has filed claims for unemployment benefits.

The Guardian calls it "a decade’s worth of job gains wiped out in under two months" and the numbers are even more impressive if one bears in mind that back in February 2020 the US registered a half century low record unemployment rate of only 3.5%.

The latest numbers of the lost jobs in the US are the worst monthly figures on record. The closest comparison could go back to the in 1930s when unemployment hit an estimated 25% but at the time official statistics weren't published. Going back to the official stats the previous time a peak was on record was back in 1982 (10.8%).

The job losses now registered are impacting several activities, with leisure and hospitality losing in the region of 7.7 million jobs as the sector was hit hard by closures of businesses. 2.5 million jobs were lost in education and health services. Retail lost 2.1 million jobs and manufacturing employment dropped by 1.3 million.

On top of this scenario is the fact that these numbers are likely to continue to increase, as another 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

As some states start to alleviate the restrictive measures the re-opening of the economy might not be as easy and immediate as that. Workers and consumers feelings might be divided between the wish to start getting back to some normality and the risk of infection.

Image credits: Timon Studler on Unsplash

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