The US economy lost 701K jobs during March, while the unemployment rate rose to its highest level since August 2017 at 4.4%. This comes in response to the effects of the spread of the coronavirus and efforts made to contain it. The United States is currently the most affected country in the world with more than 240K cases.
Employment decreased significantly in the healthcare, social services, professional and commercial services, retail, and construction sectors.
The data for March is the worst since the financial crisis, with the reading for the month of February revised to include 275K additional jobs. Market expectations for a loss of only 100k jobs were dashed.
Nevertheless, average hourly wages rose by 0.4% on a monthly basis, and by 3.1% on an annual basis.
The market seems to have absorbed this disappointment in the light of negative employment data that appeared during the week including the fact that approximately 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in just two weeks, a figure that represents about 6% of the total workforce of 164 million people.