Jan. 8 (UPI) — The U.S. economic system shed 140,000 jobs throughout December in its first month-to-month loss for the reason that restoration from the coronavirus pandemic started final spring, the Labor Division reported Friday.

The job losses got here as a shock to analysts, who had anticipated a achieve of 50,000 jobs for December, and underscored the persevering with weak spot of the labor market amid hovering COVID-19 caseloads.

The unemployment charge was unchanged at 6.7 p.c, largely according to analysts’ estimates.

Some 10.7 million People had been formally counted as unemployed in December, additionally principally unchanged since November.

By far the largest losses for the month got here within the leisure and hospitality trade, the place employment plunged by 498,000 jobs after gaining 340,000 jobs within the earlier month.

A lot of the reductions got here within the restaurant and bar sector, which noticed a drop of 372,000 jobs amid coronavirus-related closures.

These losses had been solely partially offset by beneficial properties in skilled and enterprise companies, retail commerce, and building, the Labor Division reported.