Accommodations and Food Services Unemployment Rose 6.3M in April

Restaurant or bar ready for cleaning or closing
Source: shironosov / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest Employment Situation summary and the results were expected by still daunting.

The unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, a historic 10.3% jump, and a number not seen since the Great Depression. To put context to this number, the unemployment rate peaked at 24.9% during the Great Depression. According to The Balance, unemployment was higher than 14% from 1931 to 1940. In 1982 and 2008 during the Great Recession, the unemployment rate was around 10%.

23.1 million Americans were out of a job in April and the question remains how permanent will this job loss be? On a possibly positive note, of the 20.1 million who were laid off in April, 18.1 million are listed as temporary versus 2 million that are recorded as permanent. (Table A-11)


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Employment in leisure and hospitality plummeted by 7.7 million to 47 percent. Nearly 75% of this came from the restaurant and bar industry accounting for 5.5 million. The hotel industry lost 839,000 jobs, and arts, entertainment, and recreation lost 1.3 million jobs.

Comparing restaurants' and bars' unemployment numbers to other industries, it is almost more than all of the jobs lost in health and education, professional and business services, and manufacturing combined at 5.7 million.

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