The private sector slashed a record 20.2 million jobs between March and April — a somber preview of Friday's monthly jobs report. That's up from the 149,000 private jobs cut a month earlier.

The ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday was not surprising, given that more than 30 million people have filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the economy. But the latest numbers are stunning nonetheless.

"Job losses of this scale are unprecedented," said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute. "The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession."

Small businesses cut 6 million jobs, medium businesses 5.3 million and large businesses nearly 9 million, ADP said. The service sector cut 16 million jobs — including 8.6 million in leisure and hospitality. Manufacturing jobs fell by 4.3 million.

The Labor Department's official report for April, which also includes the government sector, is expected to show a drop of more than 20 million jobs and unemployment nearly quadrupling to 16%, according to analysts' forecasts.

The pandemic's toll began to show up significantly in the department's March report, which showed a loss of 701,000 jobs — the most since 2009, during the the Great Recession. The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% in March from a nearly 50-year low. It also marked the end of a record 10-year streak of job growth.

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