The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) March 2020 Hiring Situation confirmed what we already suspected: COVID-19 made a tremendous impact on job growth and hiring in March. The U.S. economy lost 701,000 jobs and the unemployment rate jumped to 4.4%, up from a half-century low of 3.5% in February. This ended the decade-long record of employment growth marking the first and steepest decline in payrolls since the Great Recession.
The strict measures put in place to help contain the spread of the virus have left many businesses shuttered with the majority of Americans ordered to stay at home outside of essential workers, which include our important healthcare workers on the front lines fighting the virus.
Healthcare lost 42,500 jobs last month, with the vast majority within ambulatory care (-40,700). Hospital job growth was virtually flat. The healthcare unemployment rate grew from 2.2% in February to 2.8% in March. Over the prior 12 months, health care employment had grown by 374,000.
The U.S. has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 245K people infected, according to the latest Johns Hopkins University data available at this time.