In February, the US unemployment rate was near a 50-year low of 3.5%. In April, it skyrocketed to 14.7%, the highest level ever recorded since 1948 when the government began tracking the monthly data.
The road back to a healthier labor market will be painful, said Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell during a virtual event at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
It will be particularly painful because recently hired and lower-paid workers are the ones bearing the brunt of the pain, Powell said.
The unemployment rate will probably peak "over the course of the next month or so," he added, and it's reasonable to expect a decline in the unemployment rate after. This decline might even be sharp, but US unemployment will likely remain well above the lows seen at the start of the year.