The US economy shed 140,000 jobs in December last year, according to government data released Friday, a sign the recovery from the pandemic’s damage has stalled.
“The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and efforts to contain the pandemic,” the Labor Department said.
The recent spike in infections, which saw the single-day death toll top 4,000, led to renewed restrictions on businesses, which hit the leisure and hospitality sector particularly hard.
Those businesses lost 498,000 jobs in December, according to the report.
While the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent, 10.7 million people remain unemployed — both figures about double the pre-pandemic levels.
The job losses in leisure and hospitality and in private education were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade and construction, the report said.
The job gains registered in November were also revised up to 336,000, about 90,000 more than originally reported.