The U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April and the unemployment rate soared to 14.7% -- both record highs -- laying bare the starkest picture yet of the crippling gut punch delivered by the coronavirus pandemic.
In just a month, the historically dismal performance abruptly wipes nearly all the nation’s job gains since the Great Recession of 2007-09.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast 22 million job losses and a 16% unemployment rate.
The reversal has been head-spinning: The jobless rate had touched a 50-year low of 3.5% in February before rising to 4.4% the following month amid the early effects of the crisis.
The share of Americans working or looking for jobs -- which together make up the labor force -- tumbled from 62.7% to 60.2%, lowest since 1973, the Labor Department said. Many people who lost jobs didn’t look for work because of fears of catching the virus while job hunting, caring for sick relatives or watching kids who were home now that schools are closed. Also, with much of the economy shuttered, there were few jobs available.
The decline kept the unemployment rate from rising even further.
Also, many workers incorrectly said they were employed but absent from work, Labor said. If they had been properly classified, the unemployment rate would have shot up to 20%.
A hopeful sign: Of the 20.6 million workers who lost jobs in April, 18 million said they were on temporary layoff, indicating the lion’s share of the positions could come back when businesses reopen and helping the economy snap back more quickly.
"The fact that so many of the job losses are temporary is encouraging, and suggests businesses will have an easier time re-opening once they are confident doing so," says economist Leslie Preston of TD Economics. "However, the millions of workers who have left the labor force will need to be drawn back in, and this process could take time."
Economist Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics expects another 10 million or so job losses in May before the labor market begins to rebound in the second half of the year.
More:4 reasons why you shouldn't freak out about 20.5M job losses
In April, job losses were broad-based across industries but particularly hammered restaurants and bars, and retail.
April’s outsize numbers reflect the nation’s emergency response to its worst health crisis in a century.
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One Vegetable That Literally Destroys You From The InsideMost states shut down nonessential businesses and issued stay-at-home orders starting in mid-March to curtail the spread of the virus, closing restaurants, malls, movie theaters, offices and sports venues, and idling tens of millions of workers. Combined with a travel and tourism industry that largely ground to a halt, some 30% of America’s economy has evaporated, and the effects have rippled to white-collar businesses and their employees.
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Your EmailA ghastly employment report was widely anticipated after 22 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance in the weeks leading up to the mid-April jobs survey. Since then, another nine million workers have sought benefits, though they’ll likely be counted among May’s job losses.
Yet while first-time jobless claims represent the best real-time gauge of layoffs, the employment report offers a more accurate reading. Many people seeking jobless benefits during this crisis have been furloughed while others have had their hours reduced.
That suggested there may be fewer job losses than unemployment claims. At the same time, the Economic Policy Institute estimated that as many as 14 million workers couldn’t apply for benefits because of overwhelmed phone and computer systems, potentially swelling April’s payroll losses.
April's net payroll losses reflect not just layoffs but also a plunge in hiring. Job openings have fallen 28% since early March, according to Glassdoor, the job search site.
While the numbers are staggering, the economy’s medium-term outlook is uncertain. More than 40 states have started allowing businesses to partially reopen despite a still-rising number of coronavirus cases. Assuming the pandemic eases by summer, economists expect a solid recovery in the second half of the year.
But lingering consumer caution and a possible second wave of the virus is likely to continue to crimp economic activity at least until a vaccine is available, possibly by early next year, economists say. Moody’s Analytics forecasts that unemployment will end 2020 at a still-elevated 9%.
"While we are hopeful many (of the unemployed) will get back to work in the coming months, there will be severe scarring effects on the labor market for years to come," says economist Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics.
Michael Hurley, 33, of Havertown, Pennsylvania, temporarily lost his job as a quality standards manager for a marketing company in late March when the firm’s door-to-door consumer surveys were shut down.
He has applied for unemployment benefits but is still awaiting approval. Hurley’s fiancee, Shannon, is still working a second-grade teacher, but the couple has taken a big hit to their income. They’re buying lots of pasta and rice to stretch their food dollar and keeping the thermostat at 67 degrees.
If Hurley doesn’t receive jobless benefits by next week, he says he’ll have to look for a manual-labor job so the couple can pay rent and other bills.
“I am getting to the point where my funds are critically low,” he says.
Hurley graduated from college during the Great Recession in 2009, forcing him to take a job as a claims adjuster for an insurance company despite his business management degree. He says he worked hard to rise to a manager’s job at Walmart before landing his current position.
“I feel like I was starting to gain steam,” he says. Now, he worries another downturn could undo much of his accomplishments. “Did I just lose all the steam I was gaining?”
Hurley’s company has told him they expect to rehire him when the economy reopens. “They say they’re coming back but are they?” he says. “It’s a level of the unknown.”
Industries that are slashing jobsLeisure and hospitality was hit hardest, with 7.7 million job losses, or nearly half its total employment, mostly in restaurants and bars. Professional and business services shed 2.1 million positions in a sign job losses that largely began in retail and restaurants have spread to white-collar fields. Healthcare and retail each lost 2.1 million jobs; manufacturing, 1.3 million; construction, 975,000 and financial activities, 262,000.
Local government lost 801,000 jobs and state governments, 180,000, as the federal government, which has rolled out unprecedented programs to respond to the crisis, added 1000 jobs.
Broader jobless measure soarsThe 14.7% unemployment rate highlights only part of the economic carnage set offf by the outbreak. A broader measure of unemployment -- that includes Americans working part-time even though they want full-time jobs, discouraged workers who have stopped looking and the unemployed – leaped from 8.7% to 22.8%, highest on record.
Wages spike, with big caveatAverage hourly earnings increased $1.34 to $30.01, bumping up the annual gain from 3.3% to 7.9%.
The increase, however, wasn’t because of any good reasons. Rather, most of the workers who have lost jobs in industries such as retail, restaurants and hotels are low-paid, increasing average pay increases for American still working.
In coming months, the drop in demand for labor is expected to dampen wage gains.
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.
CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATESOne For The History Books: 14.7% Unemployment, 20.5 Million Jobs Wiped AwayUnemployment 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.
CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES3.2 Million More Are Out Of Work As Jobless Claims Keep Piling UpEven with those limitations, the April snapshot will be staggering — a freeze-frame image of an economy that was abruptly and deliberately stopped in its tracks in a desperate bid to slow the spread of a deadly virus.
"The whole world is kind of at a standstill now, so we're feeling the effects of that," said Carmine DiBiase, a longshoreman in Florida whose work loading cruise ships was suspended weeks ago.
The payroll company ADP foreshadowed the carnage earlier this week, reporting that private-sector employers shed more than 20 million jobs last month. By comparison, the worst monthly job loss during the Great Recession was 800,000 in March 2009.
"All the plans for this year went out the window," said David Edwards, who expected to spend the summer guiding people around a zoo in Coal Valley, Ill., that's now shuttered, and working as a mascot for a minor league baseball team whose games have been suspended.
CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES'Tip Of The Iceberg': Economy Shrinks At 4.8% Pace, But Worst Is Yet To Come"The two seasonal jobs that I had are both shut down for now," he said. "I feel very scared about my future."
ADP said leisure and hospitality jobs were especially hard hit, but workers in almost every industry suffered layoffs, including retail clerks, construction crews and even health care workers.
Forecasts of the April unemployment rate vary widely — from 14% to 17% or even higher. Even the low end of that range would be well above the postwar peak of 10.8% in 1982 and four times the rate in February, which matched a 50-year low.
Fox Hydroxychloro-Queen Laura Ingraham Trashes Promising New TreatmentCAN’T STOP, WON’T STOPIngraham, who has long touted the unproven anti-malarial drug as a COVID-19 treatment, pooh-poohed a recent study showing promising results for another drug.
Justin BaragonaContributing Editor
Published Apr. 30, 2020 12:24AM ET
Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who spent weeks endlessly promoting the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible coronavirus cure, downplayed data on Wednesday night that found another antiviral drug has shown actual promise as a treatment.
Noting that top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci declared on Wednesday that results from a National Institutes of Health study into the Ebola drug remdesivir show a “clear-cut positive effect in diminishing time to recover,” Ingraham said that while it “certainly sounds encouraging” she’s not sure why Fauci wasn’t as bullish on hydroxychloroquine.
She went on to question the safety of remdesivir, which has been through numerous clinical trials over the years as an Ebola treatment. “We don’t know,” she stated. “It hasn’t been approved by the FDA. They might do emergency authorization. Hydroxychloroquine was approved decades ago.”
She also wondered aloud about remdesivir’s cost-effectiveness, insisting it is expensive and will be hard to scale up for production. As for hydroxychloroquine, Ingraham helpfully explained that it is “cheap and already widely available.”
Ingraham then welcomed on frequent guest Dr. Ramin Oskui, who she recently brought with her to the White House to sell President Donald Trump on hydroxychloroquine. Grumbling that the NIH results on remdesivir haven’t been peer-reviewed yet, Ingraham conceded that the initial analysis shows the drug cuts down on coronavirus recovery time.
Oskui, meanwhile, compared the remdesivir trial to a recent hydroxychloroquine study conducted by controversial French doctor Didier Raoult, claiming they both used similar-sized groups of patients. Oskui, however, added that while the anti-malarial drug showed a “very favorable safety profile,” he was concerned that remdesivir may not be as safe due to “its history with Ebola.”
The NIH trial, however, was a double-blinded study that used a placebo group and was carried out in 68 sites around the world. Preliminary findings show that severely ill patients who received remdesivir left the hospital after 11 days compared to 14 in the control group. They also experienced a smaller mortality rate (8 percent) compared to the placebo group (11.9 percent).
Ingraham also highlighted a recent report in which Turkish officials claim they have used hydroxychloroquine to keep the coronavirus death toll down in the country, while applauding the country for only implementing limited lockdowns, saying they have “among the best mortality rates in Europe.”
As CBS News reported, though, there are widespread concerns that the official death count in Turkey is severely underestimated. (Interestingly, Ingraham has been extremely critical of media outlets taking China’s reported death toll at face value.)
Ingraham, along with other Fox News stars, touted hydroxychloroquine for nearly a month as a potential miracle cure with “Lazarus”-like effects. The network, along with President Donald Trump, backed away from hyping hydroxychloroquine in mid-April after several studies showed the drug had no real benefits in treating coronavirus.
LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus in the Mid-South: Arkansas releases guidelines of reopening salons, barbershops
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The impact of the novel coronavirus is being felt all across the Mid-South where new cases are being announced every day and new steps are being taken to help limit the spread. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.
Have questions about the spread of coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.
For the latest on coronavirus, stream FOX13 News on FOX13 Memphis Now – it’s free on your Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV as well as your FOX13 News App.
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Below are the latest updates for Friday, May 1:
UPDATE: (4:47 p.m.) Kroger sent FOX13 a statement that said they have put a purchase limited on ground beef and fresh pork in some areas.
“At Kroger Delta, we feel good about our ability to maintain a broad assortment of meat and seafood for our customers because we purchase protein from a diverse network of suppliers. There is plenty of protein in the supply chain; however, some processors are experiencing challenges.”
At this time, we’ve added purchase limits only on ground beef and fresh pork in some areas.
UPDATE: (4:30 p.m.) Plans for free drive-thru coronavirus testing on the University of Memphis campus were announced Friday afternoon.
The following was released from the University of Memphis:
Kroger Health is announcing an additional COVID-19 testing site next week for patients in the Memphis area. Kroger Health, along with Cherokee Health Systems, is proud to partner with the University of Memphis to host this FREE drive-thru event. Testing will be Tuesday, May 5 through Thursday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Testing will be held on the University of Memphis campus at the Central Avenue parking lot next to the Holiday Inn (signage will be displayed).
People needing a test will use a virtual screening tool based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to see if they are eligible. Those who are eligible for the testing include health care workers, symptomatic individuals and asymptomatic individuals based on CDC, state and local government recommendations.
Interested individuals can schedule a test at: http://krogerhealth.com/covidtesting
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
UPDATE: (4:00 p.m.)The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office released new confirmed cases, with 60 employees and 141 detainees testing positive for COVID-19.
· 1hSCSO Weekly Covid-19 Update
ShelbyTNSheriff@ShelbyTNSheriffSCSO Weekly Covid-19 Update
4:47 PM - May 1, 2020
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See ShelbyTNSheriff's other TweetsUPDATE: (3:00 p.m.) Gov. Bill Lee said more than 1,100 new cases of the coronavirus have been announced across the state.
Nearly 900 of them are related to an outbreak at Trousdale Correctional Center. Two of the inmates have been hospitalized.
As a response to the high number of cases, the state will be doing statewide testing of all prisoners.
In a news release,
"Today, TDOC confirmed more than 1,246 COVID-19 positive cases, out of 2,450 total tests, among staff and inmates at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Trousdale County, following a targeted testing event at the facility that began on April 28.
“We’ve been in close coordination with TDOC as it began targeted COVID-19 testing of inmates and staff in early April,” said UCG Director Stuart McWhorter. “Given the increases in positive cases at the Bledsoe County and Trousdale Turner correctional facilities, despite the vast majority being asymptomatic, we are going to take the next steps in partnership with TDOC, Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), and
Tennessee National Guard to support a broader testing strategy to promote the health and safety of staff and inmates. We will also coordinate plans with our local jails to assist them in safeguarding the health of their populations in the coming days.”
Testing continues to be a major topic of discussion for the briefings.
The state said they are going to be doing a targetted and aggressive testing strategy. They will be targeting locations that have a high-risk factor. Officials wanted to make it clear that the number of cases will go up as a direct result of how aggressive they plan on being.
UPDATE: (2:30 p.m.) The Memphis Police Department released the latest numbers of employees with coronavirus on Friday.
The department says that 15 employees have tested positive for the virus.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY.
UPDATE: (2:25 p.m.) The Memphis Fire Department released new numbers of infected personnel today.
MFD says that five employees have tested positive and seven are in quarantine.
258 employees have returned to work following quarantines.
UPDATE: (1:30 p.m.) Gov. Asa Hutchinson led his daily briefing by announcing there were no new hospitalizations across the state, however, three more people died from the coronavirus. Bringing the death total to 64.
Hutchinson said on May 4, the gym and fitness restrictions are being lifted.
Barbershops and hair salons will be able to open up on May 6.
Below is a list of guidelines that are being set as the services reopen their doors.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that salons and barbershops will be allowed to open on May 6. (State of Arkansas Youtube)
UPDATE: (12:10 p.m.) The Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force gave a briefing today on plans for reopening the community.
Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said it was possible to have a spike in cases.
Haushalter said today’s total of 2,556 cases is an increase of 153 since Wednesday.
The positivity rate is 8.7 percent.
There have been 50 deaths in Shelby County due to the coronavirus.
The average age of death is 73.
Haushalter said 52 percent of the cases have recovered.
Almost 30,000 people have been tested in Shelby County.
Haushalter said people should continue to practice social distancing efforts.
People are encouraged to wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth and wash their hands regularly.
Haushalter said people should stay home if they are ill.
People who can work from home are encouraged to continue working from home.
Haushalter said the Health Department has not given permission for salons and barbershops to reopen.
New testing sites will open next week at the following locations: Freeman Park in Bartlett, the Agricenter, the University of Memphis near the Holiday Inn and Christ Community locations in Orange Mound and on Broad Avenue.
Memphis mayor Jim Strickland said a revised safer-at-home order will go into effect Monday.
The plan will be incorporated into the Back-to-Business framework.
Strickland said this will not be back to business as usual.
People are asked to limit activities and only travel when necessary.
Strickland said we could see a surge in cases if we don’t abide by social distancing rules.
Strickland said a surge could potentially roll back business openings.
Groups larger than 10 people are still prohibited.
Businesses must comply with COVID-19 compliance protocols. The city will monitor compliance.
Restaurants and gyms/fitness centers have specific protocols.
Parks and golf courses will remain open with social distancing guidelines in place.
Churches and places of worship must adhere to regulations from Governor Bill Lee.
Strickland said churches should continue to offer virtual services.
Gov. Lee will issue guidelines for places of worship this afternoon, Strickland said.
Strickland said Gov. Lee amended his plan to allow salons and barbershops to open May 6.
Strickland said he could not speak for suburban cities in Shelby County regarding that, and that he will rely on the guidance of doctors as far as salons and barbershops reopening in Memphis.
Dr. Jon McCullers said the county has seen a stabilization of the rate of new cases over the last 3-4 weeks.
McCullers said the hospitalization rate for people with COVID-19 is also stable.
Hospital capacity right now is good, according to McCullers. The hospitals have open beds and open ICU beds.
The county’s capacity for testing is increasing.
The county can perform around 1,000 tests per day.
McCullers said the county is not done expanding testing.
UPDATE: (11:48 a.m.) Mississippi Department of Health officials are reporting 397 new cases of COVID-19 this morning.
20 more people have died in the state.
The total number of coronavirus cases in Mississippi since March 11 is now 7,212 with 281 deaths.
UPDATE: (10:05 a.m.) Shelby County health officials today announced the number of COVID-19 cases in the county is now 2,556.
50 people have died in Shelby County from the coronavirus.
29,430 people have been tested in the county.
UPDATE: (7:15 a.m.) Tristate Community Health Center is offering free COVID-19 testing by appointment only today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1725 Pinebrook Dr., Memphis TN 38116.
Testing will also be available at 4041 Knight Arnold Rd., Memphis TN 38118.
To make an appointment text COV2019 to 91999 or call 901.572.1573.
UPDATE: (7:12 a.m.) The Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center in Tunica, Miss. is conducting drive-thru COVID-19 testing today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Paul Battle Arena.
The testing will also be available May 8.
Individuals must call 662-645-7806 to go through a pre-screening to receive an appointment to be tested.
UPDATE: (5:45 a.m.) A new drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 is opening today at Case Management Inc.'s Your Community Health and Wellness Primary Care Clinic at 1087 Alice Ave., Memphis TN 38106.
The site will open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Testing will also be available tomorrow at the same time.
UPDATE: (5:25 a.m.) Free face masks are available today in Oxford, Miss through a face mask giveaway at Oxford High School.
You can get up to four face masks per vehicle while supplies last.
Pick-up times are 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
UPDATE: (5:17 a.m.) The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis is hosting a COVID-19 Response Project Event today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for families in the 38126 zip code.
The event will take place at the former Georgia Avenue School, 690 Mississippi Blvd, Memphis, TN 38126.
The organization will give away food and other resources to families.
UPDATE: (5:15 a.m.) Jimmy John’s, located at 7850 Poplar Ave., Memphis, will give away free lunch today for kids in K-6th grade, according to a press release.
The giveaway will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
UPDATE: (4:45 a.m.) The Mid-South Food Bank will distribute food today at the following mobile pantry locations:
Memphis, Fairley High School 4950 Fairley 38109, 10 a.m.
Memphis, Women's Foundation 690 Mississippi 38126, 10 a.m.
Memphis, Iglesia Nueva Direccion 3097 Knight 38108, 10 a.m.
Memphis, Shady Grove Pres. Church 5530 Shady Grove 38102, 10 a.m.
Memphis, Powerhouse 1350 Norris 38106, 10 a.m.
UPDATE: (4:35 a.m.) Below are the current number of cases and deaths, by state, for our area:
Tennessee 10,735 - 199 deaths.
2,484 cases in Shelby County. 47 deaths in Shelby County.
Mississippi 6,8150 - 261 deaths.
3,413 estimated recovered.
282 cases in DeSoto County. 4 deaths in DeSoto County.
Arkansas 3,281 - 61 deaths.
187 cases in Crittenden County. 5 deaths in Crittenden County.
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