U.S. economy loses jobs as pandemic pummels restaurants, bars

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Islam News – The U.S. economy shed jobs for the first time in eight months in December as the country buckled under an onslaught of COVID-19 infections, suggesting a significant loss of momentum that could temporarily stall the recovery from the pandemic , as Reuters agency reported.

The plunge in nonfarm payrolls reported by the Labor Department on Friday was concentrated in the leisure and hospitality sector, with closures of bars and restaurants accounting for three quarters of the job losses.

But with other industries including retail, manufacturing and construction performing better, the economy is unlikely to fall back into recession. Nearly $900 billion in additional pandemic relief approved by the government in late December will probably provide a backstop.

More fiscal stimulus is expected now that Democrats have gained effective control of the U.S. Senate, boosting the prospects for President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. There is also optimism the rollout of coronavirus vaccines will be better coordinated under the incoming Biden administration.

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