Stocks Sink on Dire Jobs Report

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 3, 2020
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Stocks are once more sinking like a stone in response to terrible news about recent job losses, among other things.

CNBC is reporting that, as of late afternoon Friday, the Dow had slid by 444 points, or, 2.1 percent, while both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq had both lost 2.2 percent of their values. While the morning saw stocks beginning to rise on news of a possible end to the price war that has been savaging the petroleum market, this was balanced out by further bad news about jobs on top of yesterday's announcement of 6.6 million new unemployment claims: The Bureau of Labor Statistics said payrolls were down 701,000 in March, which brings the country to an official unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, the largest month-over-month increase since 1975.

This marks the end of the longest period of job growth in history, according to the New York Times. The period began in late 2010 and continued on for 113 months in a row to a total of 22.2 million new jobs, but now that's over. What's more, said the Times, further reports are likely to be even worse, as the data was taken mostly from the first half of the month, before statewide lockdowns began really picking up. In a separate article the Times noted that total job losses in just a few weeks have exceeded all those that happened in the entire year and a half of the last recession. Further, because unemployment figures have typically only included people who are on benefits and actually looking for work, rather than gig workers and other atypical subjects, the unemployment rate might actually be closer to 13 percent right now.

The St. Louis Federal Reserve last week estimated that the country may see unemployment reach 32 percent by the end of the second quarter. This is far higher than even the grim prediction of 20 percent that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed in private to lawmakers in mid-March. The highest rate if unemployment during the Great Depression was 24.9 percent.

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