Biden AdministrationUkraine InvasionInflationEnergyCybersecurity

Coronavirus could put 47 million people out of work, says the Fed

March 30, 2020, 5:11 PM UTC

Subscribe to Outbreak, a daily roundup of stories on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global business, delivered free to your inbox.

The coronavirus pandemic may result in more than 47 million people losing their jobs by the end of June, according to the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve.

An analysis from economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro estimates the nation could see an unemployment rate of 32.1% in the second quarter of 2020, which would handily top the Great Depression’s peak of 24.9%.

The only bright spot in those numbers? Experts say they expect the downturn would be brief in comparison.

The numbers, which Faria-e-Castro calls “back of the envelope” estimates, focus on two categories: the 808 occupations considered high-risk, including sales, production, and food services (employing an estimated 66.8 million people) as well as the 27.3 million who work in jobs that require proximity to others, such as hairstylists and flight attendants.

The 47 million figure was an average of the two categories.

“This negative shock does not equally affect all businesses, sectors, or occupations. Many workers in professional services, for example, are able to work from home and continue their activities with minimal disruption,” he writes. “Others—who work in occupations that involve direct physical contact with customers, such as restaurant waiters—are likely to see their jobs affected by social-distancing measures.”

There are some caveats, such as businesses potentially sending workers home with pay instead of laying them off, as well as the impact of any fiscal changes (such as those to unemployment insurance) between now and June.

“These are very large numbers by historical standards,” said Faria-e-Castro. “But this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—Everything you need to know about the coronavirus stimulus checks
Coronavirus economic relief proposals are overlooking the 57 million self-employed
How does America pay for the coronavirus relief bill? With two shiny coins
—The world’s largest coronavirus lockdown is off to a rocky start

—The quickest way to boost the economy isn’t even being considered. Why?
—Listen to Leadership Next, a Fortune podcast examining the evolving role of CEOs
—WATCH: The greatest designs of modern times

Subscribe to Outbreak, a daily roundup of stories on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global business, delivered free to your inbox.