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US loses 140,000 jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers shed jobs last month for the first time since April, cutting 140,000 positions, clear evidence that the economy is faltering as the viral pandemic tightens its grip on consumers and businesses.

At the same time, the unemployment rate stayed at 6.7%, the first time it hasn’t fallen since April.

Friday’s figures from the Labor Department depict a sharply uneven job market, with losses concentrated among restaurants, bars, hotels and entertainment venues, many of them affecting low-income employees, while most other sectors are still adding workers. Still, the nation has nearly 10 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic sent it into a deep recession nearly a year ago, having recovered just 56% of the jobs lost in the spring.

The pandemic will likely continue to weaken the economy through winter and perhaps early spring, and further job losses are possible in the coming months. But many economists say that once coronavirus vaccines are more widely distributed, a broader recovery should take hold in the second half of the year. The incoming Biden administration is also expected to push more rescue aid.

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