The U.S. economy lost at least 701,000 jobs in the month of March, bringing an end to more than a decade of solid job gains after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses across the country, forcing companies across the country to furlough or lay off thousands of workers.
According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, after months of historically low unemployment rates, the number jumped to 4.4 percent, up from 3.5 percent.
Economists warned that the data doesn't show us the true effects of the pandemic on the economy just yet - the survey was taken in the first half of the month, before many states had issued stay-at-home orders and there were fewer cases. However, as bad as March was for the economy, the real damage will likely be seen on May 8, when the April jobs report is scheduled to be released.
“April will be a disaster for labor markets,” Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays, told CNBC. “We still have two more weeks, and we’re probably looking at an unemployment rate of more than 10 percent in April."
Some economists have predicted up to 20 million people will be looking for work or out of a job by May. Last week, a record 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits after millions of businesses closed amid 'stay-at-home' orders.
This is the first time since 2010 that the jobs report has recorded a negative number.
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