New York Times: The Labor Department said today that the economy shed more than 20.5 million jobs in April, sending the unemployment rate to 14.7% — devastation unseen since the Great Depression.

The report underscores the speed and depth of the labor market’s collapse as the coronavirus pandemic took a devastating toll. In February, the unemployment rate was 3.5%, a half-century low. And even since the survey was taken, millions of people have filed claims for jobless benefits.

The April job losses alone far exceed the 8.7 million in the last recession, when unemployment peaked at 10% in October 2009. The only comparable period came when the rate reached about 25% in 1933, before the government began publishing official statistics.

The unemployment rate for black workers jumped to 16.7%, nearly three times its level in February — before coronavirus shutdowns took hold — and the highest since early 2010. For Hispanic or Latino workers, the unemployment rate jumped to 18.9%, up from 6% in March and the highest on records going back to the 1970s. 

As tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs in April, 78.3% of them classified their separation as a temporary layoff, while 11.1% said their situation was permanent. That is an unusually high share of people on temporary layoffs, and it could be good news for the economy. Temporary layoffs accounted for just 26.5% of job losses in March and 13.8% in February. In fact, the share was at an all-time high in records dating back to the 1960s.

Short-term job losses suggest that hiring may come back quickly when businesses reopen.

“Off the charts”: A series of graphics from the New York Times shows how various industries were hit in April.