March jobs report: America’s labor market is hurting. But this jobs report won’t show the worst of it
Now the focus turns to the March jobs report, due Friday at 8:30 am ET, the first from the Bureau of Labor Statistics since COVID-19 began sweeping across America.
Economists polled by Refinitiv expect a drop of 100,000 jobs in March, bringing the 10-year stretch of continuous increases in monthly job numbers to a screeching halt. It also would push the unemployment rate to 3.8%.
The BLS surveys on which the jobs report is based were conducted in the second week in March, when the outbreak’s impact on American businesses and workers was still muted.
The March report’s drop in jobs “will likely be dwarfed by job losses closer to 10 million in April, with the unemployment rate rising above 10%,” said economists at Citi in a note.
“Sadly we’re only at the start of this process. There are around 18 million jobs, mostly in the service sector, at risk from social distancing,” said James McCann, senior global economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments, in emailed comments. McCann thinks unemployment could climb as high as 12% overall.