Covid-19 impact: U.S. loses over 700000 jobs in March

Andrew Cummings
April 5, 2020

America's decade-long record of continual job growth came to a shuddering halt on Friday as the U.S. unemployment rate rose for the first time since 2010.

"In addition, data collection for the two surveys was affected by the coronavirus". As of Friday morning, more than 6,000 Americans died from the Covid-19. "If this is an indication of what was happening before the full force of the crisis hit, then it will be hard to come up with the words to describe the numbers in future months", added Nick Bunker, economic research director at job search site Indeed. The government said the plunge in payrolls, which snapped a record streak of employment gains dating to October 2010, reflected 459,000 job losses in the leisure and hospitality industry, mainly in food services and drinking places. The unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent.

"We are losing jobs faster" than previous analysis projected, "but much of that is attributed to much more aggressive shelter-in-place orders than we anticipated in early March", Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University in IN, told Xinhua.

But notable losses also were recorded in healthcare, retail and businesses services. Small businesses have been particularly hard hit as the pandemic has shaken the USA economy. "This is the largest over-the-month increase in the rate since January 1975, when the increase was also 0.9 percentage point", BLS said.

The two surveys that make up the closely-watched monthly government jobs report are taken during the week that includes the 12th of the month, which in March was before the most restrictive of the lockdowns were imposed that closed businesses nationwide.

Forecasting firm Oxford Economics is predicting a 16% unemployment rate by May with the loss of 27.9m jobs, more than double the 8.7m jobs cut during the 2007-2009 recession and its aftermath.

The report could sharpen criticism of the United States administration's handling of the public health crisis, with Trump himself facing criticism for playing down the threat of the pandemic in its initial phases. "However, it is clear that the decrease in employment and hours and the increase in unemployment can be ascribed to effects of the illness and efforts to contain the virus".

But he acknowledged that there may be some delays in getting the funds even though the process has been streamlined, and some banks were saying they did not have complete information on how the program was going to work. For post-9/11 veterans, the rate was 3.7% for men and 6.2% for women.

For Gulf War I-era veterans, those who served from August 1990 to August 2001, the unemployment rate in March was 3.2%.

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