The jobs report is worse than you thought


    Remember last month, when the jobs report was bad but not apocalyptic? Those were the days. The most recent jobs report is a stunning picture of how the pandemic has reshaped the country’s labor market. Overall, 20.5 million fewer people were employed last month than in March. And the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 14.7 percent — by far the worst we’ve seen in more than seven decades of economic data....

    The one thing we know for sure is that the unemployment rate is historically high. The government has been tracking this number for more than 70 years, and up till now, the peaks were 10.8 percent in 1982 and 10.0 percent in 2009. For context, economic historians estimate that during the Great Depression, the unemployment rate hit a peak of about 25 percent.

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    The real number may actually be closer to that Great Depression peak, because by this metric, only people without jobs who have been actively looking for one are considered unemployed. In normal times, that’s already a bit of an issue because it means frustrated job seekers who have given up on finding something aren’t counted. Now, the problem is even bigger because so many workers are being encouraged to stay home to combat the coronavirus. Others might not be job-hunting because they believe there’s no work to be had.

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