Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent,the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of thecoronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors,with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality.
Household Survey Data
In April, the unemployment rate increased by 10.3 percentage points to 14.7 percent. This is the highest rate and the largest over-the-month increase in the history of the series (seasonally adjusted data are available back to January 1948). The number of unemployed persons rose by 15.9 million to 23.1 million in April. The sharp increases in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it. (See table A-1).
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on April 2020 Establishment and Household Survey Data Data collection for both surveys was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The household survey is generally collected through in-person and telephone interviews, but personal interviews were not conducted for the safety of interviewers and respondents. The household survey response rate, at 70 percent, was about 13 percentage points lower than in months prior to the pandemic.
In the establishment survey, approximately one-fifth of the data is collected at four regional data collection centers. Although these centers were closed, about half of the interviewers at these centers worked remotely to collect data by telephone. Additionally, BLS encouraged businesses to report electronically. The collection rate for the establishment survey in April was 74.9 percent, essentially unchanged from collection rates prior to the pandemic.
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