- The US unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% in March, up from 3.5% in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The market had been expecting a more modest increase to 3.8%, indicating that the spreading coronavirus had a worse initial impact on the economy than feared.

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 701k, much more than market expectations of a 100k decline.

The situation is set to deteriorate further, given that the bureau noted that the statistics were calculated in the first half of the month, before many coronavirus-related business and school closures were announced.

Average hourly earnings increased by 11 cents, or 0.4%, to $28.62, above expectations of a 0.2% rise.

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