Unemployment Rate Forecast

Economic Forecasts

Employment Tumbles in March, Worse to Come in April

Kiplinger’s latest forecast on jobs

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Employment fell by 701,000 in March, and it should have been even more. At the time of the survey in the second week of the month, no states had issued complete stay at home orders. Now thirty states have. That means that the decline reported for April will be much higher. Food service lost 417,400 jobs. Temporary help, retail, manufacturing, construction, dentist and doctor offices, hotels, personal services and daycares all saw declines in the tens of thousands. There were a few sectors hiring: The federal government added 18,000 workers, mostly for the 2020 Census; superstores like Walmart hired 7,900 employees; and warehousing (driven by e-commerce) brought on 8,200.

The unemployment rate was reported as rising from 3.5% to 4.4%, but that also was artificially low. If you add workers losing hours and other situations, it would have been 6.5%. It is expected that the official rate will rise substantially in the next report.

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Wages continued to grow at a moderate 3.4% rate for nonsupervisory workers. Wage increases are likely to slow as the economy weakens. Slower wage growth means little chance of a pickup in inflation.