New York (CNN Business) — The US job market has completely cratered within mere weeks. And it isn’t coming back anytime soon.
The pandemic forced local and federal officials to shut down the American economy, delivering an instant shock to the labor market. Almost like a light switch, millions were out of work — with a record 20.5 million jobs lost in April.
Experts say a return to pre-crisis levels of unemployment could take a couple years, or even longer. Although some jobs will return quickly as states reopen their economies, many others could be gone for awhile. Some jobs may never return.
“Even though the shock has been severe and rapid, the healing process will take much longer,” said Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and chief strategist for Quill Intelligence.
The stunning loss of 20.5 million US jobs is easily the largest one-month decline since the government began tracking the data in 1939. The unemployment rate soared to 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression. It’s quite the spike from just 3.5% in February and 4.4% in March.