The U.S. shed 140,000 jobs in December as a resurgence of the virus hit restaurants, ending seven months of job growth and weakening the economy.
The Labor Department report Friday showed the jobs market has deteriorated this winter as cold weather, rising covid infections, and new restrictions on businesses deal a setback to the recovery from the pandemic.
In one positive sign, job growth in November was stronger than previously estimated. The agency said the economy added 336,000 jobs that month instead of the initially reported 245,000.
Meanwhile, the department also said that the record surge in the unemployment rate last spring due to the pandemic was higher than it previously reported. The jobless rate hit 14.8% in April, the highest on record, instead of the previously reported 14.7%.
The December decline was driven by a sharp decline in jobs in the leisure and hospitality industries, which lost 498,000 jobs. Retail businesses added 121,000 while manufacturing and construction operations also posted increases that helped offset the overall decline.