The Labor Department is expected to deliver a historically bad employment report Friday, showing millions of jobs lost last month as the jobless rate soared to around 16% — the highest level since the Great Depression.
Unemployment inched up to 4.4% in March as the coronavirus began to take hold in the United States. It approached 25% during the Great Depression and remained elevated until World War II.
As painful as the report for April will be, it won’t tell the full story of the economic wreckage left by the coronavirus and the government’s drastic efforts to control it.
The report is based on surveys conducted in the middle of April, and claims for jobless benefits suggest that millions of additional jobs have been lost since then. What’s more, the headline unemployment figure includes only people who are actively looking for work and those on temporary furlough, ignoring millions more who have been involuntarily idled by the pandemic.