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The US economy is likely to see the steepest plunge in payrolls since the Great Depression in April, in the face of the coronavirus outbreak and its devastating impact on the country’s labor market, the latest Reuters survey showed on Friday.

Key findings

“The US economy to lose a staggering 22 million jobs in April.

The Labor Department’s monthly employment report on Friday is also expected to show the jobless rate surging to at least 16% last month. That would shatter the post-World War Two record of 10.8% touched in November 1982.

The historic dive in April nonfarm payrolls predicted in a Reuters survey anticipates job losses in nearly all sectors of the economy, with larger layoffs in the leisure and hospitality industry – mainly restaurants and bars.

It would follow the shedding of 701,000 jobs in March, which ended a record streak of employment gains dating to October 2010.

Estimates in the survey ranged to as much as a loss of 35 million. Forecasts for April’s unemployment rate, which was at 4.4% in March, were as high as 22%.

Economists will focus on a broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

Economists do not expect a quick rebound in the labor market.”