After reporting slowing job growth over the past few months, the Labor Department released a report on Friday unexpectedly showing a decrease in U.S. employment in the month of December.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment fell by 140,000 jobs in December after climbing by an upwardly revised 336,000 jobs in November.
The decline surprised economists, who had expected employment to increase by about 71,000 jobs compared to the addition of 245,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the report said the unemployment rate came in at 6.7 percent in December, unchanged from November. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to inch up to 6.8 percent.