Amid a resurgence in COVID-19 infections around the world, the United States labor market’s recovery remains uneven.
According to the monthly ADP National Employment Report, total non-farm private employment declined by 123,000 jobs from November to December. It marked the first time that private hiring contracted since April — when the U.S. confirmed that it had reached half a million COVID-19 infections and became the first country to record more than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day. (The report is produced by the ADP Research Institute in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics.)
According to ADP Research Institute VP and co-head Ahu Yildirmaz, the job losses were “primarily concentrated in retail and leisure and hospitality.” The payroll and HR services firm tracked data by sector: Jobs at goods-producing firms fell by 18,000, with manufacturing decreasing by 21,000 and construction rising by 3,000, while natural resources and mining remained flat. In the service-providing sector, which lost 105,000 jobs, the biggest declines were seen in leisure and hospitality (-58,000); trade, transportation and utilities (-50,000); information (-6,000); and other services (-12,000). However, professional and business services increased by 12,000 jobs, education and health service advanced 8,000 and financial activities improved 2,000.
By company size, APD saw a loss of 13,000 jobs among small businesses (with under 50 employees) but a 37,000 gain among medium-size businesses (with between 50 and 499 employees). Large businesses, on the other hand, suffered a drop of 147,000.
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The report came out on the same day that the Department of Labor released data around weekly jobless filings. The agency announced that seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ended Jan. 2 totaled 787,000 — a decrease of 3,000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised 790,000 applications. Economists predicted 815,000 claims last week.
Still, the number of filings has remained well above pre-pandemic levels — plus a continued surge in COVID-19 cases has led some states and localities to reinstate restrictions that have shuttered businesses once again and subsequently pushed more people out of work. Since mid-March, the U.S. has recorded more than 21.3 million infections, and at least 361,300 people have died.
In an effort to help bolster the ailing economy, the federal government approved a $900 billion stimulus package that includes $600 in one-time direct payments to individuals as well as an additional $300 a week for the unemployed through March 14. Those checks as well as benefits have already begun rolling out to eligible Americans. Tomorrow, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to release its monthly jobs report.