According to seasonally adjusted numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed individuals classified as permanently losing their old jobs climbed by 345K in September to a 7-year high of 3.8 million.
That means that what many initially hoped were furloughs or temporary job losses are becoming permanent as businesses shut down and cut costs. This closely watched labor market measure has nearly tripled since sinking to a 19-year low in February, just before the pandemic started in the US.
The surge of permanently unemployed Americans provides stark evidence of the scarring effects caused by the health crisis.
When Americans are laid off, the Labor Department classifies some as on temporary layoff. Those layoffs classified as permanent are people who have either just completed a temporary job or have lost their post for good, meaning the job isn’t coming back.
The percentage of unemployed Americans classified as permanently unemployed rose to 35.6% in September, up from just 11.1% in April.