The US government on Friday released a statement saying that the economy shed 140,000 jobs in the final month of the year. “The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases and efforts to contain the pandemic,” the Labor Department said.Also Read - Omicron Scare: Maharashtra Revises Guidelines For Passengers Arriving In State | Check Details Here

The recent spike in infections, which saw the single-day death count top 4,000, led to renewed restrictions on businesses, which hit the leisure and hospitality sector particularly hard. Those businesses lost 498,000 jobs in December, according to the report. Also Read - Rahul Dravid Turns Intermediary On Behalf of Virat Kohli-Led Team With BCCI For South Africa Tour Amid Omicron Variant Scare

While the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent, 10.7 million people remain unemployed — both figures about double the pre-pandemic levels. The job losses in leisure and hospitality and in private education were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade and construction, the report said. Also Read - India Reports Cases of Omicron Variant, Two Test Positive in Karnataka

The job gains registered in November were also revised up to 336,000, about 90,000 more than originally reported.

(With Agency Inputs)