By Johnson Dike,
Countries around the World have either closed or restricted opening hours of factories and businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly all the jobs created in the US economy in the last decade were cleaned off in a single month.
In April, an estimated of 20.5 million jobs were destroyed, driving the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent from 4.4 percent in March, the Labor Department said in its monthly report.
The United States currently has 75,000 fatalities and 1.2 million cases reported as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University, the highest outbreak of the coronavirus in a country.
The lockdown has also posed huge economic damage, and notwithstanding the $3 trillion in financial aid approved by Congress there is a growing concern that the temporary layoffs will become permanent since some companies won’t survive after the outbreak.
Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors. Leisure and hospitality was the first sector hit as countries around the world has closed their airports and raised ban on social activities. The leisure and hospitality sector has lost close to 7.7 million jobs.
Taken together, 21.4 million jobs were destroyed in March and April, nearly equal to the 23 million positions created in the economy’s long expansion from February 2010 to February 2020.
As bad as the data was, the real picture likely is much worse. The Labor Department noted the unemployment rate would have been closer to 20 percent but some workers were misclassified as employed when they actually had been laid off.
The pandemic has caused many employees to leave the workforce altogether, some others have been forced from full-time jobs into part-time work and there is a growing interest in the number of people not in the labor force who now wants a job.
The minorities have also not been left out, African American unemployment spiked to 16.7 percent from 6.7 percent in March, while the \ for Hispanics was 18.9 percent, more than triple last month.
President Donald Trump said Friday the numbers were expected, and promised: “I’ll bring it back.”
“Our country is warriors and maybe now more than ever because they are going back to work,” he said on Fox News.
But citizens do not share the same hope as the president.
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