The jump in the “real” unemployment rate reflected a plunge in the labor participation rate to 60.7%, its lowest level since 1973.
In all, the rolls of the unemployed surged to 23.1 million, a jump of 15.9 million over March as governments across the country placed stringent restrictions on what businesses could be open. Multiple states are beginning to relax those rules, but about 60% of the economy remains under stay-at-home orders.
However, it’s not clear if the April numbers fully accounted for those classified as unemployed. In a note accompanying the tally released Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said those people not at work because they were sick should have been counted as unemployed, though it “is apparent that not all such workers were so classified.”