Survey shows 24M jobs lost since labor market stats last released
VCU-Arizona State survey provides more recent unemployment snapshot than federal data.
Approximately 24 million jobs have been lost since the last United States Department of Labor market statistics were released in mid-March, according to a survey conducted by economists at Virginia Commonwealth University and Arizona State University.
“[This is] an unheard of loss in any economic downturn since the Great Depression,” said Adam Blandin, a VCU School of Business assistant professor, who conducted the survey with Alexander Bick, an associate professor of economics at Arizona State.
The 24 million lost jobs translate into a 12% decline in the national employment rate in just the past few weeks, according to the survey.
According to the VCU-Arizona State survey covering March 29 through April 4, the employment rate has decreased from 72.7% to 60.7% and the unemployment rate increased from 4.5% to 20.2%. The survey also found that hours worked per working-age adult dropped 25% from the second week of March and more than 60% of work hours were spent from home.
Declines were most evident for female, older and less-educated workers, according to the survey.
U.S. labor market statistics are collected monthly and published with a three-week delay. The most recently released statistics cover the week ending March 14, which didn’t include the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. The next federal labor statistics will be released May 8.
“We’re always going to be one to two months behind if we continue to rely on the traditional statistics,” Blandin said. “And under normal times, one to two months of a lag is no big deal, but the outbreak and associated economic downturn is moving so fast that policymakers are flying blind because they have very little idea of what’s going on with the labor market.”
The next VCU-Arizona State survey will be conducted on April 22, covering the week of April 12 through April 18. Results will be released on April 24.