Employment in real estate declined in January, but the drop in hospitality positions was not nearly as bad as in December.
Job losses in leisure and hospitality, retail and warehousing last month dragged the industry’s overall numbers down, according to seasonally adjusted statistics released by the government Friday.
The losses weighed against gains in other sectors of the economy last month that resulted in an overall addition of 49,000 jobs. That was an improvement from December, when 230,000 jobs disappeared, revised estimates show.
Restaurants, bars, and recreation activities accounted for a majority of the 61,000 jobs lost in leisure and hospitality last month, following a staggering decline of more than half a million jobs in December — mainly the result of a coronavirus resurgence. More than 1 in 5 leisure and hospitality jobs have vanished in the past year.
Real estate losses in December “were concentrated in leisure and hospitality, and that continued last month, with gains overall hard to find outside of temporary help services,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Construction employment lost its momentum, shedding 3,000 jobs after eight consecutive months of gain. The industry added 51,000 jobs in December, capping off a bumper year for residential homebuilding.
A boost in temporary hiring and average weekly hours worked last month suggest “employers are poised to hire more over the next several months,” Fratantoni said.
A national vaccination campaign is underway and expected to eventually breathe life back into the economy. President Joe Biden spoke Friday in favor of a large economic relief package aimed at “restoring full employment” by speeding vaccine delivery and boosting consumer spending.
Since February 2020, employment in leisure and hospitality has fallen by 3.9 million, or 23 percent, according to the federal government.
Retailers lost jobs in January, after holiday shopping added jobs in December. Retail still employs 383,000 fewer people than it did a year ago.
Warehousing employment declined by 28,000 in January, although it has gained 97,000 jobs since last February.
Americans bought 5.6 million homes last year and residential construction was more active than anytime since 2006.
About 1.9 million people who want a job are unable to find one, and those who do are more likely to get temporary work than stable employment. The unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in January from 6.7 percent in December.