Companies cut jobs in January for the first time in more than a year as the spread of the Covid omicron variant appeared to hit hiring, payroll processing firm ADP reported Wednesday.
Private payrolls fell by 301,000 for the month, well below the Dow Jones estimate for growth of 200,000 and a marked plunge from the downwardly revised 776,000 gain in December. It was the first time ADP reported negative job growth since December 2020.
The pandemic-sensitive leisure and hospitality industry was responsible for more than half of the decline, as companies reported a drop of 154,000. Trade, transportation and utilities cut 62,000 while the other services category declined by 23,000.