It took only five weeks for the U.S. economy to wipe out all the job gains it added over the last 11 years.
The coronavirus and forced business closures throughout the U.S. again buoyed the number of Americans applying for state unemployment benefits, which last week totaled 4.427 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Combined with the four prior jobless claims reports, the number of Americans who have filed for unemployment over the previous five weeks is 26.45 million. That number exceeds the 22.442 million jobs added to nonfarm payrolls since November 2009, when the U.S. economy began to add jobs back to the economy after the Great Recession.
The rapid nature of the job losses is unprecedented, wiping out more than a decade’s worth of job gains in five weeks.
“We’re still talking about workers filing for unemployment benefits in the millions — so it isn’t ‘good news’ per se,” wrote Ian Lyngen, head of rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets.
Investors won’t receive the official look at the U.S. unemployment rate for the month of April until May 8. But the Labor Department’s latest nonfarm payrolls report for March showed droves of layoffs at restaurants and bars as some state governments force the closure of the majority of their businesses.
The March nonfarm report showed payrolls plunged by 701,000 last month, marking the first decline since 2010 and the worst fall since March 2009. The unemployment rate jumped nearly a full percentage point to 4.4% from 3.5%.