20.5 million jobs were wiped away from American payrolls in April, according to the Department of Labor's monthly jobs report as the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent.
Prior to April, the U.S. economy was working at nearly full employment with an unemployment rate of about 4.4 percent.
The stunning figures shatter all-time job loss records. According to The Washington Post, the previous one-month increase in job losses was about 2.2 million — which came in the months after World War II.
Weekly unemployment data from the Labor Department indicates that more than 33 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims in the last seven weeks, an average of 4.7 million a week. Surveys indicate that millions more have given up trying to apply for benefits because the process was too difficult.
Before the pandemic, the most unemployment claims the Labor Department had seen in a single week was about 665,000 during the 2007-2008 recession.
James B. Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, predicteded Friday's report "will probably be one of the worst ever," according to The Washington Post.
According to The Associated Press, global markets were up despite the bleak jobs projections. Since its historic slide in February and March, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has actually gained more than 5,000 points.