The payment: According to a new survey, companies have greatly reduced the number of employees they hired in late 2020, with most of the decline in restaurants, hotels and other businesses being hit hardest by the coronavirus.
Employment fell nearly 400,000 to 5.5 million in December, according to the government's job vacancy and turnover survey. The report known as Jolts is released with a one month delay.
Many companies were forced to lay off their workers after coronavirus cases exploded to record highs and states reimposed some restrictions.
The vacancies rose slightly to 6.65 million. Although the openings in late 2020 were actually higher than a year earlier, companies are in no hurry to fill them.
Read: Rising inflation is not a threat to the US economy – or is it?
What happened: Hotels and restaurants accounted for more than half of the December recruitment decline. The hiring also fell in the areas of transportation, storage, art, entertainment and recreation.
Retailers hired nearly 100,000 workers in December, though most of those jobs were temporary.
Read: The US is only gaining 49,000 jobs in January as the labor market remains under acute stress
And: Why the unemployment rate fell when job creation was practically zero
Big picture: While vacancies appear to be high, most companies are in no hurry to fill them. The economy lost 227,000 jobs in December and only regained 49,000 in January.
The hiring is likely to accelerate once the vaccines are effective and the pandemic subsides. However, it could be months before the labor market regains momentum. The US lost 5.5 million net jobs in 2020, the survey found.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones industrial average
and S&P 500
was easy on Tuesday.