Employers in the US shed 140,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.7 percent, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The closely watched jobs report was the lowest since April, when the rate was at a record high of 14.7 percent as the COVID-19 pandemic first rattled America. However, expert economists were anticipating an addition of 77,000 jobs, which would have been less than a quarter of November’s revised total of 336,000.
The losses came as several states imposed new restrictions to curb a record-setting spike in coronavirus cases, such as mask mandates, bans on indoor dining and limits on public and private gatherings.
Vaccines could help the economy return to normal once they’re distributed across the country — but in the meantime, millions of Americans are relying on unemployment benefits and hundreds of thousands are seeking jobless aid every week.