US loses over 20 million jobs in April
The US economy has lost 20.5 million jobs over the course of April, an unprecedented development since the Great Depression and the latest sign of the toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on the world economy. Unemployment has increased to 14.7 percent in April, surpassing the previous postwar record of 10.8 percent which occurred in autumn 1982.
These numbers serve to bolster predictions that recovery from the recession brought on by the lockdowns, introduced to curtail the spread of covid-19, will be slow and painful. The lockdowns have dealt a heavy blow to consumer spending, productivity and the housing market.
US President Donald Trump has been keen to reopen the economy, despite the threat of a growth in infections and deaths. Some states have partially eased their lockdowns over the course of this week and the Federal Reserve has attempted to rescue some businesses with credit lifelines. His administration has been at odds with the World Health Organisation over responding to the pandemic. This dispute culminated in the withdrawal of US funding for the WHO.
The US currently has the world’s worst death toll from coronavirus, having surpassed 75,000 over the past 24 hours. This now represents over a quarter of the global total. Next highest is the United Kingdom with 30,689 deaths followed by Italy with 29,958.
Some countries in Europe and the Middle East have begun easing their lockdowns, allowing some businesses to reopen and families to reconnect.