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Six charts that show the extent of the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic

A store stood closed near Wall Street in New York City.
A store stood closed near Wall Street in New York City.Spencer Platt/Getty

The coronavirus pandemic has killed tens of thousands of Americans and cost the economy millions of jobs. But it can be hard to fathom just how bad the economic collapse has been in the last several weeks, or how swiftly the destruction occurred.

Here are six charts to help explain the true scale of the economic crash:

1. The unemployment rate hit its highest level since the Great Depression era

April’s unemployment rate rocketed to 14.7 percent. That’s the highest since 1940.

2. Latino Americans have been hit especially hard by job losses

The unemployment rate for Latinos had been at historic lows before the coronavirus reversed those gains, and Latino unemployment saw an especially large jump.

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3. The economy has lost all of the jobs it gained since 2011.

US employers had added jobs for a record 113 consecutive months until March.

4. Some industries fared better than others

Almost every sector saw major job losses. One exception: what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls “warehouse clubs,” like Costco, and retail supercenters.

5. Workers’ average hourly earnings spiked ― but that’s not a good thing

The monthly gain in earnings shot up in April largely because so many lower-wage jobs were lost.

6. But there’s a bit of good news

Nearly 80 percent of unemployed workers described their job loss as temporary and expected to be recalled within six months.


Jim Puzzanghera can be reached at jim.puzzanghera@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @JimPuzzanghera. Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.