Posted May 8, 2020

Two million factory and construction jobs lost in April

More than 2 million workers in manufacturing and construction lost their jobs in April as the nation grappled with stopping the coronavirus pandemic.

Manufacturing employment dropped by 1.3 million. About two-thirds of the decline was in durable goods manufacturing (-914,000), which saw losses in motor vehicles and parts (-382,000) and in fabricated metal products (-109,000). Nondurable goods manufacturing shed 416,000 jobs.

Construction employment fell by 975,000 in April, with much of the loss in specialty trade contractors (-691,000). Job losses also occurred in construction of buildings (-206,000).

The overall unemployment rate surged to 14.7 percent in April, as employment fell by 20.5 million people nationwide.

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.

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).

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