May 11, 2020 — Unemployment Reaches Record Levels


20.5 million people joined the ranks of the jobless in April, raising the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent, a post-World War II level.   The “real” unemployment rate, which included workers not looking for jobs and the underemployed rose to 22.8 percent.

As bad as the numbers are, economists were expecting a greater loss of 21.5 million and an unemployment rate of 16 percent. The post-war record was 10.8 percent, while unemployment levels during the Great Depression peaked at 24.9 percent.  In recent history, during the financial crisis, the worst unemployment level was recorded at 10 percent in October 2009.

It is hoped that these numbers are as bad as they are going to get, with much of the country under stay-at-home orders.  As states have begun to slowly open up, some furloughed workers will be returning to the workforce, leaving the ranks of the unemployed.