U.S. nonfarm payrolls drop 701,000 in March

U.S. Labor Department numbers released Friday show that the U.S. nonfarm payrolls dropped by 701,000 in March. That was much more than expectations for a 100,000 job decline. The fall was the first since September 2010 as stringent measures to control the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses and factories. The unemployment rate increased to 4.4 percent from a 50-year low of 3.5 percent in February. Economists worry the rapid closure of businesses could make it difficult for the Labor Department to accurately capture the magnitude of the layoffs. Friday's report could also sharpen criticism of the Trump administration's handling of the public health crisis. President Donald Trump himself is already facing criticism for playing down the threat of the pandemic in its initial phases.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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