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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.

35 mins ago - Health

Treasury begins dispersing $350 billion in COVID relief funding to states and localities

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury on Monday began giving state and local governments access to $350 billion in emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan, the department announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though the money is aimed at helping state, local, territorial and tribal governments recover from the pandemic's economic fallout, the administration will generally give them wide latitude on how they can use the funds.

Game developers break silence around salaries

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Developers are sharing their salaries on Twitter under the hashtag #GameDevPaidMe to encourage pay transparency in their industry.

The big picture: The hashtag started circulating last year, but has returned periodically as developers fight for better working conditions. Salary sharing is a way to equalize the field. By removing the secrecy, as well as the stigma, around discussing pay, workers have more power to advocate for themselves when negotiating salaries and raises.