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Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shed 140,000 jobs in December, while the unemployment rate held at 6.7%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The job market recovery that had been underway for the past seven months ended last month, buckling from the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic.

Details: The leisure and hospitality sector shed nearly 500,000 jobs, reflecting the enormous stress the sector faces as coronavirus cases surge and states impose economic restrictions — leading to worker layoffs.

  • Three quarters of these losses (372,000) were in restaurants and bars. Cold weather prevented them from taking advantage of the outdoor dining that helped keep business afloat in earlier months.
Data: BLS; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The bottom line: The labor market was digging out from the over 22 million jobs lost because of the coronavirus. The way worse-than-expected December numbers chips away at that progress, dashing any lingering hopes of a "V-shaped' job recovery.

  • The job market is 9.8 million jobs short of where it was before the pandemic hit, with 55% of the jobs lost in March and April having come back.

What to watch: Economists are looking ahead to the latest coronavirus relief package (plus likely more relief during the incoming Biden administration) and a broader vaccine rollout — which could stem the labor market bleeding.

Yes, but: “We can't say, ‘don't worry, everything is fine, and it’s all growth from here,'” James Knightley, an economist at ING Financial, told Axios ahead of the jobs report.

  • “I think that you could get the more pain in the jobs market in the next few months."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
5 mins ago - Sports

The NCAA's summer of change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The college sports landscape has changed more this summer than at any other point in history, as the NCAA grapples with new rules and shifting power dynamics.

The state of play: When NCAA competition resumes this fall, everyone involved — from student-athletes and coaches, to universities and fans — will be entering a new world.

Mike Allen, author of AM
57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Ohio upset's '22 clues

Shontel Brown campaigns with Rep. James Clyburn in Cleveland on July 31. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

An upset in Ohio on Tuesday night is giving moderate, Biden-aligned Democrats momentum vs. the party's vocal left ahead of next year's midterms.

Driving the news: In a special primary for U.S. House in the Cleveland area, Cuyahoga County Council member Shontel Brown pulled out a surprise victory for the Democratic establishment in Cleveland.