The unemployment rate climbed to 14.7% this week as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global economy.
The Labor Department said on Friday that 20.5 million people lost jobs in April, wiping out all of the job gains made since the Great Recession.
The Labor Department noted that if it included furloughed and temporarily laid-off workers the "the overall unemployment rate would have been almost 5 percentage points higher than reported."
Even that number would not show the total damage done as millions of Americans continue to file new unemployment claims each week.
About 33 million Americans have filed jobless claims in the last seven weeks, representing about 21% of the labor force.
Trump vows quick rebound:
President Donald Trump said in an interview with Fox News after the numbers were released that the economy would quickly bounce back, contradicting most experts.
"It's fully expected, there's no surprise, everybody knows that. Somebody said 'Oh look at this' but even the Democrats aren't blaming me for that, but what I can do is bring it back," he said.
“Those jobs will be back and they’ll be back very soon,” Trump claimed.
Economists widely expect the financial damage done by the coronavirus to extend well beyond the lockdowns.
Democrats call to save unemployment benefits:
Democrats are calling for Congress to extend federal unemployment benefits as some Senate Republicans plan to let the $600 weekly payments expire in July.
"We are going to be climbing out of a deep economic hole, and we need to maintain support for workers and families until the economy is back to full strength," said Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet. "Our plan will strengthen unemployment benefits to sustain people whose lives have been upended through no fault of their own until they can safely go back to work."
But Republicans have pushed back, arguing the payments are in some cases higher than workers’ previous salaries.
“I promise you, over our dead bodies will this get reauthorized,” South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham said. “We’ve got to stop this. You cannot turn on the economy until you get this aberration of the law of fixed.”