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Information sector sheds more jobs as unemployment drops in broader US economy

Even as other sectors of the U.S. economy added jobs back in July, the information industries continued to shed them.

The information sector — which includes the publishing, broadcasting, telecommunications and data processing industries — saw job losses totaling roughly 15,000 in July, according to preliminary data on employment figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The biggest losses occurred in publishing, which shed 6,900 jobs, followed by the motion picture and sound recording industries, which lost 4,200.

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Most U.S. theaters have been closed since March due to health concerns sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the country's largest theater operator, furloughed or laid off its 26,000 theater employees earlier this year. The company also furloughed 600 of its corporate employees, including CEO Adam Aron. Industry peers Cinemark Holdings Inc. and Regal Entertainment, owned by Cineworld Group PLC, similarly laid off tens of thousands of domestic hourly theater staffers, while furloughing corporate workers.

Though exhibitors had been targeting a July reopening for U.S. theaters, those plans were delayed as multiple states across the country saw a summer surge in coronavirus cases after lifting shelter-in-place mandates.

Aside from information, most other sectors added jobs in July. The U.S. economy overall added 1.8 million jobs during the month, and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Still, the information sector's July losses were nowhere near as deep as the workforce cuts seen in April, when roughly 279,000 jobs were lost.

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The improvements seen in most other sectors "reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus ... pandemic and efforts to contain it," the labor statistic agency said. It pointed to notable job gains in the leisure and hospitality, government, and healthcare sectors as areas that had begun to bounce back after historic losses caused by the pandemic.

While the overall gain was slightly ahead of economists' expectations, July's numbers were far behind the 4.8 million jobs added in June.

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