Unemployment rate jumps from 4.5% to 20.2%, ASU analysis shows
As we all know, the coronavirus outbreak has shut down a substantial portion of the U.S.economy. Arizona State University Associate Professor of Economics Alexander Bick now has more timely and frequent data available on the outbreak’s impact on the unemployment rate and on the labor force.
U.S .labor market statistics are collected once a month and published with a three-week delay. Currently, the most recent statistics refer to the week of March 8-14, and new statistics will not be available until Friday, May 8. But Bick’s work aims to provide data on labor market conditions every other week and he plans to publish results the same week, thereby reducing the current information lag.
The data he collected this week is for a sample representative of the U.S. working age population (age 18-64) about their labor market situation last week (March 29-April 4) following the approach used in official US statistics. His findings reveal unprecedented changes in the US labor market since the most recent CPS data was collected:
• The employment rate decreased from 72.7% to 60.7%, implying 24 million jobs lost.
• The unemployment rate increased from 4.5% to 20.2%.
• Hours worked per working age adult declined 25% from the second week of March.
• Declines were the most pronounced for workers who were female, older, and less educated.