The American economy lost 140,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 6.7 percent. As usual, I’d caution everyone about interpreting these figures since they say more about the COVID-19 pandemic than the actual jobs situation.
That said, it’s obviously bad news on all fronts that job growth has stalled. Unsurprisingly, job losses were led by the leisure and hospitality industry, which lost nearly half a million jobs as people stayed home instead of traveling for the holidays.
Oddly, hourly earnings were up about 10 percent compared to November. This was led by a huge jump in hourly earnings for health care workers.