Warehousing and transportation industry Gain in December outweighed by wider labor trouble
The U.S. labor market lost jobs in December for the first time in eight months, yet transportation-related businesses showed solid growth, the Labor Department said on January, 8.
Nonfarm payrolls decreased by 140,000 from the prior month, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7%, providing the strongest evidence yet of how the surge in coronavirus cases is weighing on the economy. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 50,000 increase in employment and for the jobless rate to tick up to 6.8%.
But there were bright spots in certain sectors. In December, transportation and warehousing jobs rose by 47,000 from the previous month, led primarily by a gain of 37,000 jobs in courier and messenger roles. Warehousing and storage added 8,000 jobs, and truck transportation added 7,000.
In December, about 1.5 million new cases were reported per week in the U.S. and COVID-related deaths hit a record pace, prompting some states to tighten business restrictions that led to a pickup in layoffs. Those getting vaccinated are essential workers or the elderly — people that either already have been working through the pandemic or are retired — which doesn’t lead to job gains in the immediate term.