SALT LAKE CITY — The sprawling Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment group of companies began furlough announcements Friday that will result in a 40% reduction of staff working for the Utah Jazz, Salt Lake Bees, Vivint Smart Home Arena and Megaplex Theatres.

The news comes on the same day of a grim report on nationwide unemployment that cited the 20.5 million job losses in April made it the worst month on record for that figure.

A Miller Group representative said the cuts, which impacted “a couple hundred employees,” were a decision of last resort and only came after other cost-cutting efforts, including earlier reductions in part-time staffers and widespread salary reductions.

Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment group President Jim Olson said the reductions became necessary with no clear end in sight for COVID-19-related restrictions.

“These are unprecedented times and, like other companies across all industries, the sports and entertainment world has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Olson said in a statement. “The impact has required all of us to make sacrifices. For the past eight weeks during the mandated hiatus, our employees continued to receive compensation and benefits while other cost-cutting measures were implemented.

“With no clear indication of when our businesses can fully reopen, we have made the difficult yet necessary decision to furlough a portion of our employees within Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment, including positions with the Utah Jazz, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Megaplex Theatres and the Salt Lake Bees.”

Olson said it’s anticipated that all furloughed employees will return to work when pandemic restrictions are lifted and noted that those staffers will also retain their health insurance benefits until returning to work.

The Larry H. Miller group of auto dealerships function independently from the sports and entertainment companies and have remained open as a business category designated as essential amid other COVID-19 shutdowns.

The Miller automotive franchise dealerships qualified for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program to pay and retain as many employees as possible. But no other parts of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, including the Jazz, Salt Lake Bees, Vivint Smart Home Arena and Megaplex Theatres, participated in the application process, said CEO Steve Starks.

The applications were strictly limited to the company’s auto dealerships because that’s what the guidance was from the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration, he said.

“We did not draw on the funds and have canceled the loans to ensure small businesses who need the most help can benefit from the program. No other entities within the privately owned Larry H. Miller Group of Companies applied for or received PPP relief,” Starks said in a statement last month.

According to Forbes, the Lakers are the second-most valuable NBA franchise with a $4.4 billion valuation.

The Miller sports and entertainment companies are all beholden, in one manner or another, to decision-making processes that are upstream from their operations.

With seasons that are typically underway right now, the Jazz and Bees are at the mercy of what NBA and MLB officials determine are the appropriate reemergence schedules. The Megaplex movie operations, according to a Miller group representative, are waiting for studios and distributors to restart the release of new movies, which is not likely to begin earlier than mid-July.

Likewise, Vivint Smart Home Arena’s busy summer concert and event schedule will not resume until the agencies that put music and event tours reschedule those happenings.

NBA officials suspended the season on March 11 following Rudy Gobert’s positive test for COVID-19, Megaplex theaters closed its doors on March 18 and the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, the Salt Lake Bees, who would have opened the 2020 season against the El Paso Chihuahuas at Smith’s Ballpark on April 9, never saw a first pitch.

The Miller group furloughs will figure in to a U.S. unemployment rate that has surged to 14.7% — a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Depression and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was assuring Americans that the only thing to fear was fear itself.

The Labor Department said Friday that 20.5 million jobs vanished in April in the worst monthly loss on record, triggered by the coast-to-coast shutdowns of factories, stores, offices and other businesses. Unemployment is now at its highest point since 1939.

And because of government errors and the particular way it measures the job market, the true picture is even worse than the numbers suggest. The breathtakingly swift losses are certain to intensify the push-pull across the U.S. over how and when to ease the stay-at-home restrictions and the social distancing rules. And they rob President Donald Trump of the ability to point to a strong economy as he runs for reelection.

”The jobs report from hell is here,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, “one never seen before and unlikely to be seen again barring another pandemic or meteor hitting the earth.”

Stocks rallied on Wall Street Friday morning when it turned out the report wasn’t quite as horrific as economists had forecast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 300 points, or 1.3%. Worldwide, the virus has infected at least 3.9 million people and killed over 270,000, including more than 76,000 in the U.S., according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University based on official data.

Contributing: Associated Press

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly said the Jazz were eligible for federal stimulus loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. Among Miller group companies, only the auto dealerships were eligible to seek that funding.