Over 700,000 Jobs Lost In Early March Amid Pandemic

on June 3, 2011 in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Stephen Greene works a street corner hoping to land a job as a laborer or carpenter on June 3, 2011 in Pompano Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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April 3, 2020 8:38 a.m.
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It’s only the beginning.

The U.S. economy shed 701,000 jobs in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, as the coronavirus rapidly spread across the country. The unemployment rate rose to 4.4%.

The figures are just a snapshot of the economic toll coronavirus is taking. The monthly jobs report comes after record weekly jobless claims, which have totaled 10 million over the past two weeks.

“The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to contain it,” the bureau wrote.

Food and bar establishments were especially hard hit as the hospitality industry saw 459,000 job losses, according to the report, which also mentioned “notable declines” in employment in retail, health care, construction, professional services, and social assistance.

Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the University of Michigan, warned that because data was gathered three weeks ago, the true unemployment figures are actually “much worse.”

That’s why the Labor Department had reported a record-breaking 3.3 jobless claims in the week ending on March 21, only for that figure to get eclipsed the following week with a staggering 6.6 million claims.

The steep plunge in employment marks the end of an almost decade-long run of job creation.

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