"The most recent Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) monthly jobs report shows that the economy lost 140,000 net jobs in December, marking the first month of job loss since the economy started adding back jobs in May 2020", said the National Women's Law Centre, a nonprofit focused on achieving gender justice in courts and public policy.
COVID-19 cases in the United States have jumped to more than 21 million, with the death toll exceeding 357,000, according to a Reuters analysis.
The near-term outlook is rough.
The December report "makes me more anxious about the recessionary dynamic taking hold", she said.
Last month, restaurants, bars, hotels, casinos, movie theaters and other entertainment venues shed almost 500,000 jobs, the most since April, when nationwide shutdowns triggered 7.6 million layoffs.
TD Bank senior economist Sri Thanabalasingam said the resurgence of the virus is hitting Canada hard. "Look for another set of job losses in January". Of the jobs cut, 58,000 were held by those aged 15-24, and 27,000 by those aged 55 and older. A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, fell to 11.7% from 12.0% in November.
As expected, close-contact service industries are suffering greatly.
December employment fell in industries most directly affected by the new and continuing public health measures.
Greater Sudbury's unemployment rate in December remained relatively unchanged, only edging slightly upward from 7.6 per cent to 7.7 per cent.
Economists had forecast an 8.7 per cent jobless rate.
However, they received good news during the holiday season, as the US Congress managed to agree on a new economic aid package, which was ratified by Donald Trump.
"We are committed to implementing this round of PPP quickly to continue supporting American small businesses and their workers", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
Nine of 10 provinces lost jobs in December, paced by a drop of 16,800 in Quebec. British Columbia was the lone province to gain jobs with the addition of 3,800. After new restrictions came into effect, employment in the Toronto area fell by 52,200. Ontario lost 11,900 jobs, while Quebec lost 16,800. Starting Boxing Day, there has been a provincewide lockdown that has shuttered several businesses.
Conversely, there were also points of strength.
Full-time employment in December rose by 36,500, but there was a loss of 99,000 part-time jobs. E-commerce firms also ramped up hiring.
The share of Canadians working from home was 28.6 per cent in December.
He employs 14 people, down from 30 before the pandemic.
"Looking ahead, continued restrictions on dining could see payrolls fall further in January but, with the high-frequency indicators suggesting that the rest of the economy is still holding up and additional fiscal stimulus starting to feed through, we expect first-quarter GDP growth to be positive", Michael Pearce, senior USA economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note. The outlook, however, depends greatly on getting virus cases under control and speeding up the vaccination rollout.
Economists are optimistic employment will rebound in the months ahead and accelerate through 2021 amid expectations for increased inoculations and additional fiscal stimulus, including more infrastructure spending under the Biden administration.
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