The U.S. economy shed 140,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent, according to data released Friday.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had forecast an addition of 50,000 jobs and a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 6.8 percent.
The economy has added around 12.2 million jobs in the past eight months, a record-breaking pace after the unprecedented collapse in employment as lockdowns took hold in March and April. The increase in the ranks of employed workers shows that companies ramped up hiring as the economy reopened and consumers came back to stores, restaurants, and other businesses that had been shuttered this spring. Despite the gains, total employment in December was lower than its February level, highlighting just how deep the pandemic cut into what had been the strongest jobs markets in decades.
Hiring slowed in November and layoffs picked back up as infections, hospitalizations, and