The U.S. economy added far fewer jobs than expected in December just as the nation was grappling with a massive surge in Covid cases, the Labor Department said Friday. However, the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%, near the 50-year low of 3.5% posted in February 2020.
Nonfarm payrolls grew by 199,000, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That compared with the Dow Jones estimate of 422,000 for the payrolls number and 4.1% for the unemployment rate.
Job creation was highest in leisure and hospitality, a key recovery sector, which added 53,000. Professional and business services contributed 43,000 while manufacturing added 26,000.
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