May 6, 2020 / 12:26 PM / a month ago

U.S. private payrolls decline by a record 20.2 million

WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuters) - U.S. private employers laid off a record 20.236 million workers in April as mandatory business closures in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak savaged the economy, setting up the overall labor market for historic job losses last month.

The plunge in private payrolls shown in the ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday suggested that national lockdowns to slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus, could leave lasting scars on the economy, even as large parts of the country reopen non-essential businesses.

Data for March was revised down to show private payrolls decreasing by 149,000 jobs instead of the previously reported 27,000, which was the first decline since September 2017. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast private payrolls tumbling by 20.050 million jobs in April.

Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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