Looks like ADP proved prophetic after all. While states started increasing restrictions on commerce, and a handful all but shut down all over again, jobs began disappearing right along. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the US economy lost 140,000 jobs last month, the first negative number since the beginning of the pandemic.
Even the one piece of bright news comes with a caveat. The unemployment rate remained steady at 6.7%, but that was due in part to a continued drain-off in the labor force:
Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and efforts to contain the pandemic. In December, job losses in leisure and hospitality and in private education were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, and construction. …
Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff increased by 277,000 in December to 3.0 million. This measure is down considerably from the high of 18.0 million in April but is 2.3 million higher than in February. The number of permanent job losers declined by 348,000 to 3.4 million in December but is up by 2.1 million since February. The number of unemployed reentrants increased by 282,000 to 2.3 million over the month, 452,000 higher than in February. (See table A-11.)
In December, the number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks increased by 449,000 to 2.9 million, while the number of persons jobless 15 to 26 weeks declined by 303,000 to 1.6 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 4.0 million, was essentially unchanged in December but has increased by 2.8 million since February. The number of those jobless for 27 weeks or more accounted for 37.1 percent of total unemployed in December. (See table A-12.)
The labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio were both unchanged over the month, at 61.5 percent and 57.4 percent, respectively. These measures are up from their recent April lows but are lower than in February by 1.8 percentage points and 3.7 percentage points, respectively.