Number of March Job Layoffs Unprecedented in Modern Times
Some new numbers on job turnover from the Labor Department reinforce a bleak impression of how devastated the U.S. economy has been by the coronavirus crisis.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of total job separations increased by 8.9 million to a series high of 14.5 million in March.
Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover.
Within separations, the quits rate fell to 1.8 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate increased to 7.5 percent. Job openings decreased to 6.2 million on the last business day of March.
Over the month, hires declined to 5.2 million.
The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.
On the last business day of March, the number and rate of job openings declined to 6.2 million (-813,000) and 3.9 percent, respectively.
Job openings fell in total private (-774,000), with the largest declines in accommodation and food services (-258,000) and durable goods manufacturing (-82,000).
The number of job openings decreased in the South, Midwest, and West regions.
In March, the number and rate of hires decreased to 5.2 million (-658,000) and 3.4 percent, respectively.
The hires level decreased for total private (-654,000) and was little changed for government. Hires decreased in accommodation and food services (-344,000), health care and social assistance (-87,000), and durable goods manufacturing (-33,000).
Hires increased in federal government (+8,000). The number of hires decreased in the Northeast, South, and West regions.
These numbers are for March – a month where the coronavirus crisis was just hitting. Expect them to be worse, if anything, for April.
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