Job Loss

A big surprise just how ugly the December print was, with the BLS reporting that a whopping 140K jobs were lost last month, the first monthly job loss since April’s record drop.

The -140K print was worse than all but three of 66 forecasts in the Bloomberg survey.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and efforts to contain the pandemic.

In December, 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 labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio were both unchanged over the month, at 61.5 percent and 57.4 percent, respectively. These measures are up from their recent April lows but are lower than in February by 1.8 percentage points and 3.7 percentage points, respectively.

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