The nonfarm private sector in the U.S. lost about 20.2 million jobs from March to mid-April as much of the country’s economy ground to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic.
The losses were the steepest among large businesses with 500 or more employees, which saw a decline of roughly 9 million jobs during the month, according to the ADP National Employment Report for April.
The report also said the number of job losses for its March report was revised to 149,000, instead of 27,000.
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Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected the April report to show job losses of 22 million. The ADP report is based on data through April 12. The ADP Research Institute, working with Moody’s Analytics, publishes the report each month.
The service-providing sector was responsible for a majority of the losses, shedding 16 million jobs in the month. The number of service jobs lost was especially high in the leisure and hospitality sector, which saw a decline of 8.6 million jobs. The goods-producing sector was responsible for 4.2 million jobs lost.
Small businesses of fewer than 50 employees lost 6 million jobs in April, while medium businesses lost 5.3 million jobs.
“Job losses of this scale are unprecedented,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, the co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession.”
The U.S. Department of Labor is expected to release its April employment report, which covers the same period in April, on Friday. Economists are expecting it to show nonfarm payrolls down 21.5 million jobs for the month, and a rise in the unemployment rate to 16%, from 4.4% in March.
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