Unemployment Rate Officially Worst Since Great Depression

Rises to 14.7% in April
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2020 7:40 AM CDT
Updated May 8, 2020 8:05 AM CDT
Unemployment Rate Officially Worst Since Great Depression
A sign on the front door of a cafe in Richmond, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Everyone knew the numbers were going to be bad—and the numbers are bad. The unemployment report released Friday morning shows that 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in April as the pandemic shutdown took full effect, reports the AP. The figure is staggering but actually a bit better than what most economists expected (about 21.5 million), per CNBC. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, rose from 4.4% in March to 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression, when it reached an estimated 25%, notes the Wall Street Journal.

"Horrific," tweeted economic writer Henry Blodget. "And also less-terrible than expected." Investors used to bad news didn't seem terribly fazed by the report: The Dow was poised to jump at the open, with futures up 200 points, notes CNBC. Still, the number of jobs lost in one month far outpaces the biggest such loss on record: 1.96 million jobs at the end of World War II in 1945. "It's a very, very difficult situation, even for companies that were growing at a record pace before,” labor economist Julia Pollak of ZipRecruiter tells the Journal. “The big question is just, 'How long-term will this be?'" (Read more unemployment stories.)

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