The economy added just 49,000 jobs in January as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hamper recovery.
According to the latest U.S. jobs report, losses continue to hit workers at retail stores, restaurants, casinos, and hotels, despite some gains in other sectors.
The Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, down 0.4 percentage points from December. Analysts attributed the fall to more people giving up on looking for work, as roughly 400,00 more people withdrew from the labor force.
In addition, the U.S. economy is still 10 million jobs short of where it stood in February 2020, before the pandemic hit.
The gains in January followed losses in December that put an end to a streak of job gains starting in May.
The Labor Department said on Friday those falls were deeper than originally estimated, with 227,000 jobs cut instead of 140,000 as previously reported.
The losses have hit low-income, minority, and female workers hardest, the data confirmed—a trend that continued in January. Nearly 40% of the unemployed have been without work for more than six months.