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U.S. Unemployment Rate Soars To 14.7%, Its Highest Since The Great Depression

20.5 million people lost their jobs in April, which is a major increase from the 870,000 job losses in March.

Associated Press

The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 14.7% in April — the highest it's been since the Great Depression — as widespread business shutdowns continue in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

20.5 million people lost their jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday, contributing to the country’s staggering unemployment rate, which is the highest it's been since the bureau started tracking the monthly data in 1948. April’s job losses, combined with the 870,000 job losses in March, mean that around 21.4 million jobs have been lost since the coronavirus outbreak began in the country. 

That unemployment rate doesn’t even encompass all jobless Americans. In a Friday tweet, economist and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich said that the Labor Department’s April numbers don’t include Americans not actively looking for work and anyone who said they're employed but absent from work. 

Some lawmakers are attributing the country’s economic plunge to President Trump’s delayed and widely criticized response to the virus, which has infected over 1.2 million Americans and led to over 76,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

“In two months, almost a decade’s worth of job growth has been wiped out, the unemployment rate has more than quadrupled, and more than 75,000 Americans have died because President Trump did not take seriously multiple early warnings about the global threat of the coronavirus and failed to lead a competent fight against it," Joint Economic Committee vice chairman Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) said in a Friday statement, adding that it could be months before the tens of millions of Americans who have lost their jobs are able to return to work.

Despite the dismal numbers, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 300 points on Friday morning.

“You have investors that seem to be able to look through the tsunami of negative economic data and earnings and towards the potential for a gradual reopening of the economy,” National Securities chief market strategist Art Hogan told CNBC.