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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

U.S. economy sheds 140,000 jobs in December

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U.S. economy sheds 140,000 jobs in December
U.S. economy sheds 140,000 jobs in December

The U.S. economy shed jobs for the first time in eight months in December as the country buckled under an onslaught of COVID-19 infections, suggesting a significant loss of momentum that could temporarily stall the recovery from the pandemic.

Fred Katayama reports.

The U.S. economy lost jobs last month, ending seven straight months of job growth.

The Labor Department reported Friday non-farm payrolls fell by 140,000 in December, surprising economists who had expected an increase.

That suggests a significant loss of momentum that could temporarily stall the recovery from the pandemic.

The Department attributed the decline to a surge in coronavirus cases and efforts to contain the health crisis.

Unemployment held steady at 6.7% last month, hovering at nearly twice the pre-pandemic level.

Leisure and hospitality suffered the biggest job losses at roughly half a million.

Restaurants and bars, which battled cold weather in attracting customers to drink and dine outdoors, accounted for three-fourths of those losses.

With people stuck at home spending more on goods than services, the manufacturing sector added 38,000 jobs.

The December report was the latest in a series of weak data that underscores the virus’ brutal impact on the economy.

But despite the disappointing labor data, the economy is unlikely to revert to a recession.

That’s because the government approved nearly $900 billion in additional pandemic relief last week.

And now that the Democrats have gained control of the Senate, more fiscal stimulus may be on the way.

There’s also optimism that the Biden administration will better coordinate the roll out of coronavirus vaccines.

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