The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly overview of the US employment situation, and the data for April looks discouraging due to the impact of the coronavirus and the efforts to contain it. The labor department jobs report examines a range of US jobs data to gauge the overall health of the US economy, specifically the number of jobs added, the unemployment rate, and what industries are hiring now.
Before we get to the April jobs report, let’s revisit March’s US job numbers. Last month, the BLS reported that nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 701,000 jobs. The unemployment rate increased to 4.4% (approximately 7.1 million professionals). A deeper look at the US jobs data and industries hiring in 2020 showed a sharp decline in many areas.
Due to the spread of the coronavirus and the drastic measures taken to contain it, we saw severe changes to unemployment numbers in April. The April jobs report showed unemployment increased by 10.3% to 14.7%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the largest monthly increase and highest rate they’ve recorded in the history of the report (they have data as far back as January 1948).
In addition, total nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 20.5 million, and the number of unemployed persons rose by 15.9 million to 23.1 million. Part-time workers accounted for one-third of the employment decline over the month.
Here are some other key statistics from the labor department jobs report:
April brought a steep decline in many industries hiring in 2020. We saw the greatest employment change in leisure and hospitality with 7.7 million jobs lost (a 47% decrease), most of which came from food services and drinking places. We also a saw a large drop in education and health services due to job loss in dentist and physician offices, social assistance, and other areas. Here are the industries that were affected in April:
Key industries like government, construction, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade, financial activities, and information also saw job loss in April.
Overall, the labor department jobs report suggests that due to the impact of the coronavirus and efforts to contain it, the economy is in poor shape. To track employment numbers and the health of the economy, check back for our summary of the BLS May jobs report on June 5, 2020.
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