Employment Situation Report: The staggering jobs numbers keep coming in, with the Labor Department reporting last week that total nonfarm payrolls fell by 20.5 million in April while the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%.
Prior to last week’s report, the record for largest monthly drop in nonfarm payrolls came in September 1945 at a little less than 2 million, according to Labor Dept. figures.
The job losses were widespread across the economy as 1.33 million manufacturing jobs were lost, along with more than 2.5 million education/health jobs, and 7.65 million leisure/hospitality jobs. Disturbingly, the WSJ’s Daily Shot reports “Moreover, the job market carnage was even worse than the headline figures indicate. The data on labor flows show a record number of Americans leaving the labor force. These workers are not reported as unemployed.”
Initial Unemployment Claims
The monthly jobs report followed on the prior day’s weekly initial unemployment claims report which showed nearly 3.2 million initial claims were filed for the week ending May 2. As Briefing.com reported “The market, in its frame of mind, is apt to see the decline in initial claims as relatively good news, yet the key takeaway from the report is that the massive influx of initial claims is just bad in an absolute sense for economic activity because those jobs won't be recovered nearly as quickly as they have been lost.”
On the trade front, the Bureau of Economic Analysis that the U.S. goods and services trade deficit widened from $39.8 billion in February to $44.4 billion in March as exports plunged 9.6% lower, more than offsetting the 6.2% decline in U.S. imports.