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US suffers biggest job losses in history

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With shops and factories closed nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly all of the jobs created in the US economy in the last decade were wiped out in a single month.

An unprecedented 20.5 million jobs were destroyed in April in the world’s largest economy, driving the unemployment rate to 14.7 per cent compared to 4.4 per cent in March, the Labor Department said in its monthly report, the first to capture the impact of a full month of the lockdowns.

The United States is home to the world’s largest and deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with more than 75,000 fatalities and 1.2 million cases reported as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The economic damage has been swift and stunning.

In the two years of the global financial crisis, the world’s largest economy lost 8.6 million jobs and the unemployment rate peaked at 10 per cent in October 2009. During the recovery, from February 2010 to February 2020, 23 million positions were created.

The plunge in nonfarm payroll employment last month was the largest ever recorded dating back to 1939, while the jobless rate saw its highest and biggest increase dating back to 1948, the report said.

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

Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors. Leisure and hospitality was the first sector hit and the one bearing the brunt of the impact of the lockdowns, and posted a loss of 7.7 million jobs.

However, the Labor Department noted that 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.

(AFP)

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