Due to the coronavirus-induced crisis, the unemployment rate in the United States jumped from 10.3 per cent to 14.7 per cent in the month of April, representing the largest over-the-month increase since 1948.
The unemployment rate of 14.7 per cent is the highest rate since the Great Depression, The Washington Post reported.
“In April, the unemployment rate increased by 10.3 percentage points to 14.7 per cent. This is the highest rate and the largest over-the-month increase in the history of the series (seasonally adjusted data are available back to January 1948),” the US Labor Department said in its monthly jobs report.
The US lost over 20 million jobs in April, boosting the country’s unemployment rate to nearly 15 per cent, in a pandemic-induced economic spiral.
“Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April,” the report said. “The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it.”
In March, the US lost 710,000 jobs due to social-distancing measures that began keeping at least 80 per cent of the 310 million-strong population at home.
The new report comes a week after the Commerce Department said the US economy shrank 4.8 per cent in the first three months of 2020.
The newly released report adds that every major sector of the labour market had job losses, with particularly heavy declines in the non-essential leisure and hospitality industries.
The Labor Department also reported 33 million filings for first-time unemployment benefits by Americans over the past seven weeks, indicating more job losses to come.
The US government has already announced about USD 3 trillion in COVID-19 relief in previous packages, including more than USD 2.1 trillion in the initial Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act.
“Our nation is in the midst of historic health and economic crisis, and even this record-shattering April jobs report understates the suffering in our nation today. The dire job losses show the urgent need for a bold CARES 2 package that is equal to the crisis gripping the American people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Friday.
Pelosi said the new package must provide strong support to state, local and tribal governments who desperately need funds to pay the ‘vital workers’ who keep the US safe and are in danger of losing their jobs.
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the Trump administration wants Congress to reconvene soon to come up with another phase of relief funding.
Trump, meanwhile, later in the day said the unprecedented job loss is not his fault while Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden accused the president of favouring big businesses and investors.
The US has so far recorded 1,283,908 number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 with over 77,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins University.