Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, on the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in the month of April as the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%:
“Today’s devastating jobs report confirms that the labor market is in free fall, undoing years of economic progress. Unfortunately, we already know it gets worse from here. Because of the survey’s timing, these data give a snapshot of the labor market from three weeks ago. Since then, millions more have lost their jobs, as evidenced by the ongoing streak of record-setting unemployment insurance claims. More and more businesses are struggling to retain their workforce and stay afloat. Communities of color have been hit especially hard in recent weeks, losing jobs at a higher rate and being disproportionately affected by the virus itself.
“Social distancing and state stay-at-home orders remain absolutely necessary to contain COVID-19, prevent unnecessary deaths, and preserve the long-term health of the U.S. society and economy. While that is the case, lawmakers must continue to act urgently to provide relief and financial support to businesses, workers, and families, many of whom are likely wondering how they will pay next month’s rent or afford next week’s groceries. But when this health crisis begins to pass and the time comes to reopen businesses and jumpstart the economy, it will be equally vital that lawmakers act aggressively and boldly to support the economic recovery, remove workforce barriers, and reward work.”