The consensus of 57 economists surveyed this month by The Wall Street Journal is that 14.4 million jobs will be lost in the coming months, and the unemployment rate will rise to a record 13% in June, from a 50-year low of 3.5% in February. Already nearly 17 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits in the past three weeks, dwarfing any period of mass layoffs recorded since World War II.
Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist of Oxford Economics, projects 27.9 million jobs will be lost, and industries beyond those ordered to close will account for 8 million to 10 million, a level of job destruction on a par with the 2007-09 recession.
Oxford Economics, a U.K.-based forecasting and consulting firm, projects April’s jobs report, which will capture late-March layoffs, will show cuts to 3.4 million business-services workers, including lawyers, architects, consultants and advertising professionals, as well as 1.5 million nonessential health-care workers and 100,000 information workers, including those working in the media and telecommunications.
“The virus shock does not discriminate across sectors as we initially thought,” Mr. Daco said.