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US Dollar Weakens As Economy Lost Historic 20.5 Million Jobs in April

May 8, 2020 at 13:20 by Andrew Moran

Some USD bills and US cent coinsThe US dollar is weakening against most of its G10 currency counterparts at the end of the trading week. All eyes were focused on the April jobs report as the national economy lost more than 20 million jobs last month. Is the worst over, or is the US bracing for the real economic storm?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US lost 20.5 million jobs, which was lower than the median estimate of 22 million. The unemployment rate spiked to 14.7%, up from 4.4% in March. The market had expected a reading of 16%.

The February and March job numbers were worse than initially reported. The government adjusted its March total non-farm payroll employment down by 169,000 to -870,000, and it modified its February report down by 45,000 to +230,000.

The lost jobs were felt across the entire economy. The biggest declines were seen in leisure and hospitality (-7.7 million), manufacturing (1.33 million), arts and entertainment (1.3 million), government (-980,000), and accommodations (-839,000).

Last month, average hourly earnings surged 4.7%, average weekly hours were unchanged at 34.2, and the labor force participation rate slumped to 60.2%. National employment levels are now at their lowest since 2011.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims for the week ending May 2 came in at 3.169 million. In total, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has climbed to just under 34 million in only seven weeks.

In other data, wholesale inventories for March will be released later on Friday, and analysts are forecasting a decline of 1%.

While the leading US stock indexes rallied on the news, the greenback did not enjoy the same boost.

The US Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, tumbled 0.06% to 99.83, from an opening of 99.89. The index is poised for a weekly gain of 0.8%.

The USD/CAD currency pair fell 0.21% to 1.3946, from an opening of 1.3973, at 13:15 GMT on Friday. The EUR/USD rose 0.04% to 1.0833, from an opening of 1.0831.

If you have any questions, comments, or opinions regarding the US Dollar, feel free to post them using the commentary form below.

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