The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered more bad news this morning that added to Thursday’s grim notice that 34 million Americans have filed for unemployment.
The unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent in April thanks to the Chinese coronavirus and the government response.
BLS reported that 20.5 million people lost jobs, thanks to measures that were taken in response to the Asiatic pathogen that sprung, U.S. intelligence officials believe, from a poorly run lab in Wuhan, China.
“Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality,” BLS reported.
And half the country is unemployed.
China, which unleashed the virus — along with the U.S. officials who panicked and shut down the country — have wrecked what was a booming economy.
“In April, the unemployment rate increased by 10.3 percentage points to 14.7 percent,” BLS reported, “the largest over-the-month increase in the history” seasonally adjusted data available back to 1948.
The jobless rate was 13 percent for men, 15.5 percent for women, and 31.9 percent for teenagers.
It was 14.2 percent for whites, 16.7 percent for blacks, 14.5 percent for Asians, and 18.9 percent for Hispanics.
Temporary layoffs jumped from 1.81 million to 18.1 million; jobs lost permanently went from 544,000 to 2 million.
As well, BLS reported, “the labor force participation rate decreased by 2.5 percentage points over the month to 60.2 percent, the lowest rate since January 1973 (when it was 60.0 percent).”
Even worse, “total employment, as measured by the household survey, fell by 22.4 million to 133.4 million. The employment-population ratio, at 51.3 percent, dropped by 8.7 percentage points.”
Those figures are the lowest ratio and drop, again, since the department began collecting data in 1948.
How bad is the hemorrhaging? The economy lost 870,000 jobs in March. It lost 20.5 million in April.
Leisure and hospitality workers to the brunt of the hit, with employment in that industry declining 7.7 million or 47 percent, and three-quarters of those losses were in bars and restaurants, which 5.5 million.
Arts, entertainment, and recreation lost 1.3 million jobs, while hotels and motels lost 839,000.
Professional and business — 2.1 million
Retail — 2.1 million, including:
• Clothing/accessories ... 740,000
• Car dealers / parts ... 345,000
• Miscellaneous stores ... 264,000
• Furniture ... 209,000
Education — 2.5 million
Health care — 1.4 million, including:
• Dentists ... 503,000
• Doctors/health care practitioners ... 448,000
Manufacturing — 1.3 million, including:
• Durable goods ... 914,000
• Motor vehicles / parts ... 382,000
Other services (laundry, etc.) — 1.3 million
Government — 980,000
Social assistance — 651,000
Private education — 457,000
And that list is not complete.
The numbers are unsurprising given Thursday’s report from the Labor Department: Another 3.1 million people filed unemployment claims the last week of April, which brought the total seeking benefits since March 1 to nearly 34 million.
Those claims show in the unemployment rates for the hardest hit states as The New American reported Thursday:
Vermont — 25.2
West Virginia — 21.9
Michigan — 21.7
Rhode Island — 20.4
Nevada — 19.9
Connecticut — 18.7
Puerto Rico — 17.9
Georgia — 17.3
New York — 17.2
Washington — 17.1
The shocking blow to the economy that has left millions wondering how they’ll feed their families, much less pay the water and electric bills, is the reason why two elected officials have introduced bills in the U.S. House and Senate permitting Americans to sue China.
The “Holding the Chinese Communist Party Accountable for Infecting Americans Act of 2020” says China’s regime caused and lied about the global pandemic that has infected more than 4 million and killed more than 275,000.
Introduced by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas, both Republicans, the legislation includes a long indictment of what the Chinese Communists did, and didn’t do, after they knew the virus might grow into a global health menace.
“Their decision to cover up the virus led to thousands of needless deaths and untold economic harm,” Cotton said. “It’s only appropriate that we hold the Chinese government accountable for the damage it has caused.”
Said Crenshaw, “We need to hold the Chinese government accountable for their malicious lies and cover-up that allowed the coronavirus to spread across the world.”
Photo: matt_benoit/iStock/Getty Images Plus
R. Cort Kirkwood is a longtime contributor to The New American and a former newspaper editor.