• Nonfarm payrolls fell by 140,000 in December against the consensus estimate for a 50,000 gain.
  • The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7%.
  • Hospitality accounted for most of the job losses, as bars and restaurants took a particularly hard hit.
  • The level of permanent job losses actually fell for the month, an encouraging sign.
  • Job gains came in professional and business services, retail and a handful of other industries.

Job creation came to a halt in December as restrictions brought on by surging Covid-19 cases hammered virus-sensitive industries, particularly bars and restaurants, which lost nearly half a million positions.

The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls fell by 140,000. That was below expectations for 50,000 from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. It was the first monthly drop since April.