For the last 113 straight months, the first Friday of each month came with a question: How many new jobs were created over the previous 30 days? No more, thanks to the coronavirus. The epic streak came to an abrupt end with Friday's unemployment report for March, which shows that employers shed 701,000 jobs, per the AP. The unemployment rate rose from 3.5% to 4.4%. Those numbers, however, don't even begin to reflect the true damage because the relevant surveys end in the middle of the month, notes the Wall Street Journal. Since then, nearly 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. By May, the US is projected to have lost 28 million jobs and have a jobless rate of 16%, which would wipe out all of the job gains over the last decade, per the Journal.
"There's no comparison to this shock," says Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics. "The sudden drop in economic activity is like what you’d see in an area after a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, but it’s occurring across the entire country." For the record, Friday's drop in hiring is the first since September 2010, notes CNBC. The figure nearly reached the mark of 800,000 that came at the peak of the 2009 financial crisis, though it will surely exceed that with April's report. Before Friday's report, unemployment had been hovering around a 50-year low. (Read more unemployment stories.)