Reflections on the March 2020 BLS Report


Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Situation report for March 2020. Overall, total number of employments fell by 701,000 in March, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4%. This report was released a day after the last week of unemployment claims more than doubled projections, coming in at almost 6.6 million Americans filing for their first week of unemployment. 

March 2020 BLS Employment Situation GraphsGraphs from BLS Employment Situation Report

While the beginning of the month was mostly unaffected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the second half of the month was substantially affected by decreased consumer spending due to social distancing and forced ‘nonessential’ business closures. Losses were seen most prominently in leisure and hospitality, with the greatest losses specifically in food services and drinking places (-417,000 positions).  

Employment in some industries changed little over the month, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and financial activities. This is in line with current Talroo Insights™ trends as we’ve seen an increase in warehouse and logistics postings and searches. As companies deemed ‘essential’ by city, state, and federal governments continue to be in demand, we will likely see growth in some of these industries grow in the month of April.  

However, as stay-at-home orders and forced business closures continue throughout April, we will also continue to see more job losses in retail, restaurant, and other service-based business considered to be ‘nonessential’. These losses will be substantial, and we expect to see a significant rise in unemployment on the next BLS report that will be released on May 8thThe New York Times estimates that the U.S.  unemployment rate, as of today, is currently close to 13%.

New York Times Unemployment Rate Graph April 3, 2020Graph from The New York Times

Topics: Recruiting Industry

Updated April 3, 2020