Unemployment Rate Forecast

Economic Forecasts

Employment Tumbles in March, Worse to Come in April

Kiplinger’s latest forecast on jobs


GDP -4.0% growth in 2020, down from 2.3% in 2019 More »
Jobs Unemployment likely to hit 10% during lockdowns More »
Interest rates 10-year T-notes staying below 1.0% in April More »
Inflation 1.8% by the end of '20, from 2.3% at end '19 More »
Business spending Down in '20 because of global recession fears More »
Energy Crude trading as low as $15 per barrel More »
Housing Total starts up 3.2% in '20 More »
Retail sales Lockdowns will accelerate rise of e-commerce More »
Trade deficit Widening 6% in ’20 More »

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.