Amid the coronavirus, the United States lost 701,000 jobs and the unemployment rate had its biggest monthly rise in more than 45 years.

..- The US economy lost 701,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4%, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, the Labor Department said on Friday.

This is the biggest job loss since March 2009, when the financial crisis sank world economies.

In February, the unemployment rate was at 3.5%, the lowest level in 50 years, and in March it experienced the largest monthly rise in more than 45 years.

The leisure and hospitality sectors, which are among the first to suffer the impact of travel restrictions, lost 459,000 jobs, according to the government report.

But there were also notable losses in the health, retail and business services sectors.

The Labor Department acknowledged, however, that “it cannot accurately quantify the effects of the pandemic on the labor market in March.”

The two surveys that make up the government’s closely watched job report are conducted during the week that includes the 12th of the month. In March, that was before extensive confinement was imposed that led to the closure of businesses across the country.

“It is important to keep in mind that the reference periods for the March surveys predate many school and business closings in the second half of the month,” the report said.

In fact, the Labor Department’s weekly data on workers who applied for unemployment benefits showed that 10 million people lost their jobs in the last two weeks, unpublished figures.

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