Employers Add Just 113,000 Jobs in January

january employment situation jobs unemployment rate
Ben Torres/Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- Hiring was surprisingly weak in January for the second straight month, likely renewing concern that the U.S. economy might be slowing after a strong finish last year.

Employers added 113,000 jobs, the government said Friday, far less than the average monthly gain of 194,000 last year. This follows December's tepid increase of just 75,000. Job gains have averaged only 154,000 the past three months, down from 201,000 in the preceding three months.

The sluggish job growth may reflect what investors and economists have begun to fear: That the U.S. job market is weakening again, along with sectors like manufacturing and retail sales in the United States and abroad. The weakness might also raise doubts about the Federal Reserve's plans to steadily reduce its economic stimulus this year.

Still, more people began looking for work in January, a sign that they were optimistic about finding work. Some of these people found jobs, thereby reducing the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent in December. That's the lowest rate since October 2008.

Soon after the report was released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, investors pulled back from stocks and shifted into safer U.S. bonds, sending bonds yields sharply lower. But then stock futures rose back above the levels where they had traded before the news. And the yield on the 10-year Treasury crept back toward its earlier level.

Cold weather likely held back hiring in December, economists said, though the impact faded in January. Construction firms, which sometimes stop work in bad weather, added 48,000 jobs last month.

Signs of economic weakness in the United States and overseas have sent stock prices sinking. Upheaval in developing countries has further spooked investors.

The anxiety marks a reversal from a few weeks ago, when most analysts were increasingly hopeful about the global economy. U.S. growth came in at a sturdy 3.7 percent annual pace in the second half of last year. The Dow Jones industrial average finished 2013 at a record high. Europe's economy was slowly emerging from a long recession. Japan was finally perking up after two decades of stagnation.

But then came December's weak jobs total. And on Monday, an industry survey found that manufacturing grew much more slowly in January than in December. A measure of new orders in the report sank to the lowest level in a year. That report contributed to a dizzying 326-point plunge in the Dow Jones industrial average.

Also this week, automakers said sales slipped 3 percent in January. And last week, a measure of signed contracts to buy homes fell sharply, according to the National Association of Realtors.

On a more hopeful note, a survey of service sector companies, including retailers, banks and restaurants, found that they grew faster in January than in December.

Friday's report showed that some higher-paying industries added jobs in January. Factories created 21,000 new positions. Professional and technical services, which includes architects and engineers, added 20,000.

But health care employment was mostly unchanged for a second straight month, after adding 17,000 jobs a month last year. And retailers cut 12,900 jobs, the most in 18 months.

And government shed 29,000 jobs, mostly in education and the Postal Service.

Average hourly earnings rose 5 cents to $24.21, the report said. Average hourly pay has increased 1.9 percent in the past year, slightly ahead of the 1.5 percent inflation rate.

-AP Economics Writer Josh Boak contributed to this report.

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More hoplessness and pain from Obama and the democrats!

February 07 2014 at 5:30 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Hey DICKens cider...

...If and when the country decides to quit WASTING the taxpayers' money making war, providing WELFAE for rich corporations, the MIC, and already wealthy individuals, it will be our men and women who were in uniform who will rebuild THIS country, along with many other currently unemployed civillians...


February 07 2014 at 4:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

just another bogus number put out there by the government controlled media to make it look like the unemployment number is dropping. What a joke. The only reason the rate is dropping is because now millions of people who were collecting on the extension are now off the records. This doesn't mean these people suddenly found jobs that they wouldn't take before, it just means instead of collecting unemployment they are now on welfare and food stamps. They should check the increase in those numbers then they will get a real picture of what is happening. The people in congress are in fantasy land and have no clue what they are doing to people much less actually care.Most people who are still employed or never lost a job also have no clue what it is like and continue to post and believe that the unemployed are somehow looking for a hand out. Nothing could be further from the truth. Right now there is no incentive for companies to hire especially if people have been out of work for longer than 6 months. THERE IS DISCRIMINATION by employers in the hiring process but it will be hard to prove. The government and the media continue to downplay and minimize what is a serious problem in this country. The economy is NOT getting any better and jobs are not being created to an extent that is needed. All of the numbers that are being put out are not real and don't reflect the true problem of unemployment in this country.

February 07 2014 at 1:38 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Really ?? I dare ya to post all of them . List exactly what they are, and WHAT THEY PAY ? Is it a livable wage ? or... were they just created and not funded at all ?? Jobs ?? Show us the money..... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 07 2014 at 12:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

More QE now? More indebtedness?

February 07 2014 at 11:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

About 136,000 disappeared from the labor force in NJ since January 2013. aside from some really good reasons the January 2014 NJ report is going to be tough cookie to explain.

I vote the Death Penalty for manipulating the numbers; how about you?

February 07 2014 at 10:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Imagine how many jobs would be created if we removed most of the regulations on business's, eliminated the job killing obamacare, and reduced taxes! But the democRATS wouldn't ever let that happen!

February 07 2014 at 10:29 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jrb359's comment

Imagine hoe many jobs would be created iuf we get out of Afghanistan NOW, end all aid to them and Iraq, end all CORPORATE WELFARE, cut investment to the bloated MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, and reinvest those dollars in repairing our crumbling infrastructure.

Of the course, the RepubliCONS, and the Bagger Brotherhood will NEVERr let that happen.

February 07 2014 at 11:19 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Something wrong when the numbers don\'t add up. The differences in numbers is too drastic to be believable.

February 07 2014 at 10:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If there were 113,000 more hired how come there are 636,000 more counted as employed ? They claim 351,000 less people not in the labor force so where did they go to the Super Bowl on Sunday? It is no wonder few people believe the bean counters.

February 07 2014 at 9:56 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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