First Job Losses for U.S. Market in 10 Years

The economy south of the border shed jobs for the first time in a decade in March and the unemployment rate rose more than expected, as the coronavirus pandemic began to erode domestic economic activity.

The monthly report from the U.S. Department of Labor showed non-farm payrolls lost 701,000, confounding predictions for declines of 100,000 expected and a gain of 275,000 in February

The unemployment rate puffed up to 4.4% vs. 3.8% expected and 3.5% in February

The reference period for the March jobs report extended through the 12th of the month, meaning that the data was captured before much of the country went on lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This jobs report excludes the two-week period at the end of March that saw new unemployment claims skyrocket to a combined 9.9 million.

March’s drop in non-farm payrolls was the eighth largest decline on record, based on data going back to the late 1930s.

That marked a stunning reversal after the economy grew payrolls in both February and January of this year by 214,000 and 275,000, respectively. And the unemployment rate jumped to the highest level since August 2017.