Nonfarm Payroll Declines in December

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is reporting that in December total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000. The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7%, or 10.7 million unemployed persons. Although both measures are well below their April 2020 highs, they are still nearly twice their pre-pandemic levels in February of unemployment at 3.7% and 5.7 million unemployed persons. In the report the BLS indicates that the decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in 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 gain in professional and business services, retail trade and construction.

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