The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression.
In all, 20.5 million jobs went away last month – the worst job-loss month on record – as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to take a sledge hammer to the economy, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Fortunately, most of those job losses are considered temporary.
As recently as February, the national jobless rate was 3.5 percent, the lowest number recorded in 50 years. Also during the second month of this year, employers added jobs for a record 113 consecutive months.
As bad as last month’s numbers were they could have been worse, said Jay Prag, professor of economics at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.
“A lot of people, including me, thought it would get to 20 percent,” Prag said. “I expect the numbers to peak next month and then start to go down. The economy is going to get restructured in a lot of ways.”