February 5, 2021: Jobs growth returned to the U.S. in January, with nonfarm payrolls increasing up to 49,000, the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%. According to the Labour Department, the first employment report of the Biden administration.
Dow Jones surveyed economists had been looking for growth of 50,000 and the unemployment to hold unchanged at 6.7%.
Millions remain unemployed after
jobs being slashed by companies in March and April 2020 to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. More than half of those losses have been recovered since most sectors remain lower than their pre-pandemic levels.
The hospitality industry’s damage has been particularly acute, as governments across the country have forced hotels, bars, and restaurants either to operate at decreased capacity to halt the coronavirus spread.
The hospitality sector lost another 61,000 jobs in the months after suffering a downwardly revised exodus of 536,000 in December.
December’s numbers overall moved lower, with the month posting a loss of 227,000 from the initial estimate of 227,000. November’s gains also were revised sharply lower, to 264,000 from 336,000.
For January, job gains, employment and professional services (97,000), and local government education (49,000) were concentrated. Wholesale trade added 14,000, while mining raised by 9,000.
There’s hope regarding vaccines that the U.S. economy can be running at full speed at the year-end. Gross domestic product fell 3.5% in 2020, and the outlook for the first quarter, especially in 2021, remains uncertain. Most economic numbers have exceeded expectations, but concerns remain that the virus’s persistence could hamper economic activity early in the year.