April’s job losses have not been seen since the Great Depression and since those losses came from a global pandemic, economists say they don’t have a lot of history in figuring out what happens next.
The 20.5 million job losses in the month of April puts the national unemployment rate at 14.7%.
Even the great recession did not top 10%. The circumstances are so unique that even longtime economic observers say they cannot predict how deep the losses will go or how long they will last.
“The numbers we’re seeing so far are really, in many ways,unprecedented so we really don’t have much experience with the depth of the recession we’re likely to experience. On the other hand, given the uncertainty from the medical front, we’re still not sure how long this might last.” said Ken Louie, Ph.D, Penn State Behrend.
The numbers are also spread across just about every sector of the economy, leaving relatively few people untouched.