Canada loses 62,600 jobs in December, first decline since April

Raging Covid-19 cases are expected to have restrained US labour market in December

Since February 2020, employment in leisure and hospitality has been down by 3.9 million, or 23.2 per cent.

The downbeat report released by the Labor Department on Friday (Jan 8) came after months of steady gains in hiring were brought to a halt by the recent surge in infections, which saw the one-day death toll reach 4,000 as states scrambled to reimpose restrictions on businesses to again bring the virus under control.

The result was far worse than the modest gain economists forecast, but some analysts had warned the decline was coming.

"The economy will be on the soft side for the next several months, but with fiscal support and vaccines, the economy should kick into higher gear by summer", said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

While the labor market has recovered 79 per cent of the 3 million positions lost during March and April, Canada is still down 636,000 jobs compared with February.

While B.C. added 24,000 full-time jobs across various sectors, including construction and manufacturing, about 20,000 part-time jobs were lost.

According to the report, leisure and hospitality jobs decreased by 498,000.

The Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) registered 57.2 per cent in December, 1.3 percentage point higher than the November reading, according to the latest Services ISM Report on Business.

We'll have more in Business at:26 and:56. In addition, millions of Americans stand to receive $600 payments, and the Treasury Department said on Thursday that 8 million of those payments were going out this week.

Weekly initial jobless claims have been largely declining in the past few months, but the trend was recently reversed in the weeks ending November 14 and November 21, and then in the weeks ending December 5 and December 12 amid COVID-19 spikes.

The final employment scorecard delivered during President Donald Trump's administration on Friday handed the Republican a mantle no politician would envy: He will be the only modern president to leave office with fewer U.S.jobs than when his term began. However, unincorporated self-employment took a big dive in December (seasonally unadjusted data must be compared to same time last year). State governments shed 20,000 education-related jobs last month, and counties slashed 32,000 positions, nearly all of them outside of schools.

A new virus strain that led to new or extended lockdowns in the United Kingdom and Germany has been identified in the U.S., which risks spurring more restrictions that hinder hiring in the coming months.

It also accused the government of ignoring federal grant money that could be used to help struggling Albertans.

Calgary lost 1,000 jobs in December and has an unemployment rate of 10.4 per cent, a minor change from November's 10.7 per cent.

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