News The United States economy loses a record 20.5 million...

The United States economy loses a record 20.5 million jobs in April

(CNN) – The United States lost 20.5 million jobs in April, when the coronavirus crisis devastated the country’s labor market, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. It was the largest month of job loss since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began tracking the data in 1939.

The unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, the highest on record since BLS began its monthly series in 1948. The last time US unemployment was so severe was in the Great Depression: the unemployment rate reached 24.9 % in 1933, according to BLS annual historical estimates.

LOOK: 1 in 5 workers has applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March in the US

Those losses come after sharp cuts in March, when employers cut 870,000 jobs. Those two months amount to layoffs so severe that they more than double the 8.7 million jobs lost during the financial crisis.

For many Americans who lost their jobs and their homes in the 2008 financial crisis, this moment reopens old wounds. It took years to recover from those setbacks.

Two men wearing a masks walks pass the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on April 30, 2020 in New York City. - Wall Street stocks opened lower Thursday following another spike of jobless claims in the wake of coronavirus shutdowns, offsetting strong results from tech giants. Another 3.84 million US workers filed for unemployment benefits last week and the total has now passed 30 million in six weeks, according to the Labor Department data. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE / AFP via Getty Images)

(JOHANNES EISELE / AFP via Getty Images)

When the economy finally slowed, American employers added 22.8 million jobs in 10 years. A victory for all those who had endured the Great Recession.

LOOK: Unemployment in the United States has not been as severe since the 1930s

Now, the coronavirus pandemic itches not only because of the public health crisis it has caused, but also because it eliminated that decade of job gains in just two months.

According to all reports, it has been a devastating two months for American workers.

The unemployment rate, which comes from a household survey, probably underestimates the number of unemployed Americans. This is because the BLS only considers people as “unemployed” when they have been out of a job but have actively sought a new job in the previous four weeks. Or, if they were a “temporary dismissal” with the expectation of being rehired within the following six months.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by STEPHEN BRASHEAR / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock (10595051d) A sign calling for the suspension of rent during the COVID-19 outbreak is pictured in downtown Seattle, Washington, USA, 26 March 2020. Unemployment claims in the area have shot up recently as the economy had ground to a halt. Washington State Response to COVID-19, Shoreline, USA - Mar 26, 2020Mandatory Credit: Photo by STEPHEN BRASHEAR / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock (10595051d) A sign calling for the suspension of rent during the COVID-19 outbreak is pictured in downtown Seattle, Washington, USA, 26 March 2020. Unemployment claims in the area have shot up recently as the economy had ground to a halt. Washington State Response to COVID-19, Shoreline, USA - Mar 26, 2020

(STEPHEN BRASHEAR / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock)

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