American companies cut an unprecedented total of 20.2 million jobs in April, an epic collapse stemming from the closing of offices, factories, schools, construction sites and stores that drive the economy.
The report released Wednesday by payroll company ADP showed the tragic depth and magnitude of job losses that spared no sector of the world’s largest economy. The losses will almost certainly continue throughout the month of May, with a recovery in hiring likely in subsequent months, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
“It’s something for the record books,” Zandi said. “The good news is that we are at the peak of job losses.”
Although Zandi expects hiring to resume in June as states loosen their restrictions on activity, he warned that it will take several years to recover all the jobs lost in April.
The private industry report appears two days before the Department of Labor’s official monthly unemployment report. Economists think Friday’s report is going to reveal that unemployment in the United States is going to hit 16%, compared to 4.4% in March.
According to ADP, the hotel, restaurant and leisure sector lost 8.6 million jobs last month. Commerce, transportation and public services lost 3.4 million. Construction firms eliminated 2.5 million, while manufacturers approximately 1.7 million.
More than half of the losses in April were in small companies, with 500 or fewer jobs. But large employers cut 8.9 million jobs. Surveys from The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research indicate that nearly 8 out of 10 households that suffered job loss last month expect to return to their previous company.