Unemployment rate reaches 14.7 percent, the worst since the Great Depression

Brendan Morrow

The unemployment rate amid the coronavirus crisis has officially reached the highest level since the Great Depression.

The Labor Department on Friday said that 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, and the unemployment rate climbed to 14.7 percent. This staggering report showed that a decade of job gains were wiped out in just one month, The Washington Post reports.

"This is the biggest and most acute shock that we've seen in post-war history," Bank of America economist Michelle Meyer told CNBC. During the Great Recession, the unemployment rate's peak was 10 percent, The New York Times reports.

The Labor Department report notes, however, that "if the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to 'other reasons' ... had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been almost 5 percentage points higher than reported."

The Labor Department's March report showed the unemployment rate climbing to 4.4 percent from 3.5 percent in February. Weekly data released by the Labor Department previously showed that more than 33 million Americans have filed initial jobless claims over the course of seven weeks, a number that's equivalent to about 21 percent of the labor force, per CNN. The ADP National Employment Report also said earlier this week that 20.2 million private sector jobs were lost from March to April.

President Trump, who was live on Fox & Friends the moment the report was released, described the unemployment numbers as "fully expected" and "no surprise."

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