April 2020 Jobs Report and Wages

I started doing the monthly Job Report again because this is unique. A pandemic of this magnitude is new to us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it.

Below are the numbers. Also included are comparisons to last month’s initial run (March was revised down) and one of the worst month of the 2008 Financial Crises.

*Quick note about the 2008 Financial Crises. It was brewing for a few years and the recession actually started in 2007. The slowing due to the pending recession is what caused the glue and popsicle sticks to buckle in 2008. But like practically all downturns, the job losses were lagging. There were a string of months in 2009 which were ghastly. I’m using one for the comparison, but will revisit it once this health crisis has abated. One more note on 2009, the first job gain was in November of 2009… after 23 months of losses. The unemployment rate reached 10.2%

Here are the job market and compensation numbers for April, 2020 (based on the job report):

Net loss of 20,500,000 jobs in the month

  • Analysts expected an overall drop of 21,500,000
  • Private sector payrolls decreased by 19,520,000
  • Private service producing industries shed 17,165,000
  • Goods producing industries shrank by 2,355,000
  • For comparison, the months of January, February, and March of 2009 averaged well over 700,000 job losses a month. It was catastrophic and other than the Great Depression, unheard of. To put a fine point on it, April saw over 20 Million jobs lost.


  • March was revised to a loss of 870,000 from an original reading of 710,000
  • February was revised to a gain of 230,000 from an original reading of 275,000
  • Payroll processor ADP reported an employment loss of 20,200,000 jobs (it was a loss of 27,000 jobs in March 2020)


  • 939,000 people are considered long term unemployed (jobless for more than 6 months). It was 1.2 million people in March 2020 and it was 6.1 million in March of 2011
  • Employers announced plans to cut 671,129 jobs, the highest single-month total on record. Announced plans to cut were 222, 280 jobs in March. It was the most since January of 2009.


Unemployment rate rose to 14.7%. It was 4.4% in March, 2020, and 8.5% in March of 2009

  • The labor participation rate is 60.2%. It was 62.7% in March, 2020
  • The employment to population ratio is 51.3%. It was 60.0% in March, 2020
  • The U-6 report, which is a broader group to count (workers who are part time but want to be full time and discouraged worker), increased to 22.8%. It was 8.7% from 7.0% last month
  • PMI, a measure of manufacturing pace, is 41.5%. It was 49.1% in March, 2020. This was after a 131 months of expansion. Anything above 50% means the machines are running
  • Service sector activity dropped to 41.8%. It was 52.5% in March 2020.


Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing down 1,300,000. It was down 18,000 jobs in March 2020, and lost 161,000 in March, 2009
  • Construction lost 975,000 jobs. It was a loss of 29,000 jobs (averaged an increase of 17,583 jobs a month over the last year), it was a loss of 126,000 jobs in March, 2009
  • Retailers lost 2,100,000 jobs. 46,000 jobs were lost in March, 2020, and a loss of 48,000 in March of 2009
  • Leisure and Hospitality Services lost 7,700,000 jobs or 47% of the industry. It was a loss of 459,000 jobs in March, 2020, and was a loss of 40,000 jobs in 2009
  • Government sector declined by 980,000. It rose 18,000 in March 2020, and a loss of 5,000 in March, 2009
  • Education and Health Services dropped by 2,500,000 jobs. It was a loss of 76,000 jobs in March, 2020Health Care and Social Assistance lost 2,086,900. It was a loss of 61,200 in March.
    • Health Care grew by 14,000 in March of 2009
  • Professional and Business Services down by 2,165,000. It was down by 52,000 in March, 2020.
    • 841,900 jobs lost in Temporary Help. It was 49,500 jobs lost in March, 2020


Wage (can be revised):

  • The average weekly paycheck (seasonally adjusted) is $1,026.34. It was $977.65 in March, 2020. It was $614.20 in March, 2009
  • The average hourly earnings (seasonally adjusted) is $30.01. It was $28.62 in March, 2020
  • Average weekly hours and overtime of production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted is 33.5. It was 33.4 hours in March, 2020. It was 33.2 in March, 2009.

Bureau of Labor Statistics


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