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Jobless rate spikes to 14.7%, highest since Great Depression

A pedestrian walks by The Framing Gallery, closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Grosse Pointe, Mich., Thursday, May 7, 2020. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that auto and other manufacturing workers can return to the job next week, further easing her stay-at-home order while extending it through May 28 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
A pedestrian walks by The Framing Gallery, closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Grosse Pointe, Mich., Thursday, May 7, 2020. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that auto and other manufacturing workers can return to the job next week, further easing her stay-at-home order while extending it through May 28 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression, as 20.5 million jobs vanished in the worst monthly loss on record.

The figures are stark evidence of the damage the coronavirus has done to a now-shattered economy.

The losses reflect what has become a severe recession caused by sudden business shutdowns in nearly every industry.

Almost all the job growth achieved during the 11-year recovery from the Great Recession has now been lost in one month.