Historic Job Cuts as Covid-19 Shutters American Business

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They are staggering numbers that quantify the speed and severity of the biggest economic shutdown in U.S. history. 

Some 20.2 million U.S. positions were slashed by American companies last month, the biggest round of cuts since the Great Recession, providing another sobering look at the unprecedented impact the coronavirus and subsequent economic shutdown has had on the U.S. economy. 

U.S. employers slashed payrolls by a never-before-seen 20.236 million through mid-April, ADP and Moody's Analytics reported on Wednesday as the worst of the coronavirus-induced economic freeze began claiming vast numbers of full and part-time positions.

Economists surveyed by FactSet had forecast a loss of 21 million private payroll jobs last month. The report covered the period through April 12, when the majority of businesses had closed their doors as the pandemic rolled across the United States.

The numbers were the worst in the survey's history going back to 2002, eclipsing the previous record of 834,665 in February 2009 amid the financial crisis and accompanying Great Recession.

“Job losses of this scale are unprecedented," said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute, adding that the total number of job losses for the month of April alone "...was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession.”

While a rearview mirror look, the numbers paint a somber picture of an economy that systematically shut down as the coronavirus pandemic and fear of contagion shuttered businesses and forced millions to seek jobless benefits - some 30 million from mid-March to the end of April, according to weekly figures released by the Labor Department.

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