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The COVID-19 economy

The COVID-19 economy

(Illustration by Krieg Barrie)


The U.S. unemployment rate in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the economy lost 20.5 million jobs amid lockdowns and sheltering-in-place orders related to COVID-19. It was the highest jobless rate since the unemployment rate reached 24.9 percent in 1933 during the Great Depression. Some states were particularly hard-hit in April. Hawaii’s unemployment rate swelled to 34 percent as tourism slowed to a trickle. Kentucky reported that 32.7 percent of that state’s workers had filed claims for jobless benefits in the weeks leading up to early May. Georgia reported that 31.1 percent of its workforce had filed unemployment claims during the same period.


The number of jobs lost in the leisure and hospitality industry during April, making up about 38 percent of the total number of lost jobs.


The number of jobs lost in education and health services during April.


The number of jobs lost in professional and business services and also in retail during April.


The number of J.C. Penney’s 846 stores the company reportedly plans to close permanently as it seeks bankruptcy protection. Other retail chains—such as J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom—also announced permanent store closures and/or bankruptcy filings.