The Employment Situation – March 2020

Updated : August 4th, 2020

The Employment Situation March 2020

Due to the devastating effects of COVID-19, the nonfarm payroll fell by 701,000 in March and, the unemployment rate spiked up to 4.4%. It is the first decline in payroll since September 2010. 

March saw the unemployment percentage increase by 0.9%, which is the highest over the month increase since January 1975. March also saw the number of unemployed people rise from 1.4 million to 7.1 million. 



 The unemployment rate, which rose to 4.4%, is the highest since August 2017. Its effects can be seen throughout several industries. The leisure and hospitality industry, professional and business services, social assistance industry, retail trade, and construction were some of the worst affected due to the ongoing pandemic.

Due to several layoffs across industries, unemployment claims spiked across the country. Several state unemployment offices could not take the increased pressure of applications, causing their servers to crash. The Federal government and state governments are trying their best to expand the unemployment insurance framework so that unemployed people receive benefits ASAP. To know more about filing for UI in the times of COVID-19 click here

Here Are Some Key Takeaways About The Unemployment Report

Major Ups and Downs in March

459,000 job losses took place in the leisure and hospitality industry. Most of the job losses took place in the food and beverage vertical. The accommodation industry also saw a loss of 29,000 jobs in March. 

The health care and social assistance industry also took a big hit due to the ongoing pandemic. Employment dropped by 61,000 in March, with dentists, physicians, and a lot of general health practitioners losing their jobs. This industry was doing reasonably well over the last year, adding 374,000 jobs, but COVID-19 changed things drastically.

19,000 jobs were lost in the social assistance vertical, with the largest amount of job losses taking place in child daycare services. 

The professional and business services sector saw job losses of 52,000, with the temporary health services sector getting hit the hardest. 

The retail trade sector saw  46,000 job losses. The sectors affected were clothing accessory stores, furniture stores, and music stores.

The construction industry saw a decrease of 29,000 jobs in March, with the nonresidential and civil engineering construction sector getting hit the most. The mining industry was also hit hard and saw job losses of 6,000 

Not all hope was lost, as the Federal Government employment increased by 18,000, and general merchandising stores hired 10,000 people. 

Establishment Survey Data

The average hourly earnings for private nonfarm payroll employees went up by 11% and currently stands at $28.62. There was a slight decrease in the average workweek for all private nonfarm payroll workers, and it dropped by 0.2 hours to 34.2 hours. 

The hourly earnings for private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees spiked up by 10 cents to $24.07. Production and nonsupervisory employee’s average workweek decreased by 0.3 hours to 33.4 hours. 

The number of jobless people who were out of work for more than 5 weeks, increased unemployment to 1.5 million. The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.7 percent in March and currently stands at 62.7%. A total of 109,000 discouraged workers believed that there were no jobs available for them in March. 

  Household Survey Data

Workers Group  Unemployment Rate
Adult Men 4 percent
Adult Women 4 percent 
Teenagers 14.3 percent 
White Population 6.7 percent
Black Population 4.1 percent
Asian Population  6 percent
Hispanics  6 percent

There was an increase in unemployment for all workers groups in March, except for the black population, which saw a decline in the unemployment rate compared to February.  

Conclusion 

Clearly, COVID-19 has had a terrible impact on the job market. What’s yet to be seen is,  how fast the American economy can rise to the challenge and conquer this problem. Back when the recession hit in 2008, it took a couple of years for the economy and job market to bounce back. Let’s hope things getter better, much faster this time around.

 



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  1. My benefits ended Jan. 11, 2020. Will I be eligible for 13 week extension and if so how do I claim in N.J.?

    1. John,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly. Please read more about the situation here https://fileunemployment.org/coronavirus/

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

  2. I have been trying to apply for unemployment,on-line and by phone, for several days. My first attempt was on the day that I was required by last name. I truly understand that there is going to be an extremely large,either by phone or on-line,influs of applicants to complete this process. Following the prompts do not seem to work since I am guided to another section that does not pertain to applying. I am extremely frustrated. I need to complete my unemployment claim. May you please tell me what I need to do?

    1. Edna,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly. Please read more about the situation here https://fileunemployment.org/coronavirus/

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

    1. I am not sure how it works in your state. We suggest you visit the Unemployment Office’s website and learn more about it under the FAQs section.

  3. I am confused, my Illinois unemployment was accepted on March 29th, but I don’t call to certify for benefits until Monday, March 13th. I thought they were waiving the waiting week. Now I have to wait almost 3 weeks for any kind of financial relief? Do I not get the 600 for the care plan? if I do when will that be here? will it be direct deposit? Please help me.

    1. Jennifer,

      Please try finding answers online since there might be limited phone support due to the shortage of staffing. You can use the “Resources” or “FAQs” section of the website.

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