WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers shed jobs last month for the first time since April, cutting 140,000 positions, clear evidence that the economy is faltering as the viral pandemic tightens its grip on consumers and businesses.

The unemployment rate stayed at 6.7%, the first time it hasn’t fallen since April. Friday’s figures from the Labor Department suggest that employers have rehired roughly all the workers they can afford to after having laid off more than 22 million in the spring — the worst such loss on record.

The economy still has 9.9 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic sent it sinking into a deep recession nearly a year ago.

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