U.S. payrolls plunge 701,000 in March, unemployment rate rises to 4.4%

U.S. non-farm payrolls in March fell by 701,000 and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4%. Some two-thirds of the drop came in the hospitality industry, particularly bars and restaurants forced to close during the economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Jeff Cox for CNBC:

U.S. unemployment rate: COVID-19That headline number [of 701,000] reflects the count from establishments the government surveyed for its report. The household survey, which asks individual residences about their employment situation, showed a plunge of nearly 3 million.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% — from 3.5% — its highest level since August 2017 as employers just began to cut payrolls ahead of social distancing practices that shut down large swaths of the U.S. economy in order to stop the virus’s spread.

Despite the other bad numbers, wages continued to rise, increasing 3.1% year over year, slightly better than expected… Prior to the coronavirus hit, the economy had been humming along with an unemployment rate of 3.5%, the lowest in more than 50 years.

Though the March report does not capture the full extent of the employment collapse, it does hint at what’s to come. Citigroup estimated that the April count will show job losses “closer to 10 million.”

MacDailyNews Take: Hardly unexpected. It’ll get worse before it gets better, but it will get better!


  1. It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better and there is no date certain it will get better. 700,000 does not include the last two weeks which had drops of 3 million and 6 million with likely at least as much to follow this coming week. It is including political stuff like this that caused me to stop supporting MacDailyNews. Stick to Apple stuff you will be ok.

      1. The issue is the methodology used to generate these numbers. Per Bureau of Labor Statistics: If you work one hour per week you’re counted as employed. If you haven’t applied for a job in four weeks you not counted as unemployed.

        The surveys methodology is bogus. As the Marx Brothers said: “figures don’t lie but liars figure.”

        1. ?? The real number is over 20% unemployed at all times always has been, total number of people who have a job 18-65 vs the total number of people who are in that age range minus those in prison and the military equals the real rate, the government throws out people who stop looking after a period of time. Why? so the government the people don’t have to ask themselves the tough questions about the true state of the economy.

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