April 2020 Jobs Report Shows 20.5 Million Jobs Lost Due to Coronavirus Crisis

Jobs Report

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Total nonfarm payroll employment in the United States fell by a record 20.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent in April 2020, reflecting the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the efforts to contain it, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in the jobs report for April 2020.

The rise of the unemployment rate from 10.3 percent in March 2020 points to 14.7 percent in April 2020 is the highest rate and the largest over-the-month increase in the history of the jobs report series dating back to January 1948. The number of unemployed people rose by 15.9 million to reach 23.1 million in April 2020.

The over-the-month decline of 20.5 million jobs in April 2020 is the largest in the history of the jobs report series and brought employment to its lowest level since February 2011. Job losses in April 2020 were widespread across all industries, with the largest employment decline occurring in leisure and hospitality.

  • Leisure and hospitality employment plummeted by 7.7 million jobs, or 47 percent, with 5.5 million jobs lost in food services and drinking places.
  • Education and health services employment declined by 2.5 million jobs, with 1.4 million jobs lost in health care.
  • Professional and business services employment shed 2.1 million jobs, with losses occurring in temporary help services and in services to buildings and dwellings.
  • Retail trade employment declined by 2.1 million jobs, while the component of general merchandise stores that includes warehouse clubs and supercenters gained 93,000 jobs.
  • Manufacturing employment dropped by 1.3 million jobs, with about two-thirds of the decline in durable goods manufacturing.
  • Other services industry employment declined by 1.3 million jobs in April, with nearly two-thirds of the decline occurring in personal and laundry services.
  • Government employment dropped by 980,000 jobs, with employment in local government down by 801,000 jobs, reflecting school closures.
  • Construction employment fell by 975,000 jobs, with much of the loss in specialty trade contractors.
  • Transportation and warehousing employment fell by 584,000 jobs, with losses in transit and ground passenger transportation and air transportation.
  • Wholesale trade employment shed 363,000 jobs, largely reflecting losses in the durable and nondurable goods components.
  • Financial activities employment fell by 262,000 jobs, with the vast majority of the decline occurring in real estate and rental and leasing.
  • Information employment fell by 254,000 jobs, driven by a decline in motion picture and sound recording industries.
  • Mining employment lost 46,000 jobs, with most of the decline occurring in support activities for mining.

The change in employment for February 2020 was revised from 275,000 jobs added to 230,000 jobs added while March 2020 was revised from 701,000 jobs lost to 870,000 jobs added. With these revisions, gains in February and March combined were 214,000 jobs lower than previously reported.

The jobs report is usually released on the first Friday of every month at www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm. The jobs report for May 2020 will be released on Friday, June 5, 2020. More information about the April 2020 jobs report is available at www.bls.gov/cps/employment-situation-covid19-faq-april-2020.pdf.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of May 8, 2020, there are more than 3.8 million global cases with more than 270,000 global deaths, and the U.S. leads the world with more than 1.2 million cases and more than 75,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

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