Graham Kilmer

U.S. Unemployment at Over 14 Percent

Jobs report shows unemployment rate is tracking closely with number of unemployment claims.

By - May 8th, 2020 04:18 pm
Unemployment Insurance Claims Office. Photo by Bytemarks (CC-BY).

Unemployment Insurance Claims Office. Photo by Bytemarks (CC-BY 2.0).

The April unemployment rate in the U.S.  is 14.7 percent, the highest it has been since the Great Depression.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest jobs report Friday showing that 20.5 million jobs have disappeared from the labor market since February. This is the first jobs report that includes data on employment during the pandemic.

The data shows that the rate jumped 11 points from a historic low of approximately 3.5 percent in less than two months.

The numbers released by BLS show that the unemployment rate is tracking relatively closely with the number of unemployment claims being filed. As of this week, the number of unemployment claims across the country is at 33.9 million. That number translates to approximately 20 percent of the U.S. labor force.

In April alone the rate increased by more than 10 percentage points, according to the BLS report. Social distancing and stay at home orders were largely uniform across the country by the end of March, creating a countrywide economic shutdown.

The highest unemployment recorded during the Great Recession, more than a decade ago, was 10 percent. And the current rate is approximately six percentage points away from eclipsing the estimated unemployment level seen during the Great Depression.

The data comes from a reference period of April 12th through the 18th.

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Categories: Economics

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