The U.S. economy added 49,000 jobs during the month of January, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly report, missing most experts’ expectations.
Most economists anticipated the report would show an addition of 50,000 to 100,000 jobs last month.
The unemployment rate for January was 6.3%, a decrease of almost half a percentage point. The number of unemployed people declined to 10.1 million.
“Although both measures are much lower than their April 2020 highs, they remain well above their pre-pandemic levels,” the department noted.
Most of the January job growth was in the professional and business services sector and temporary help services.
Friday’s jobs report came a day after the department reported that another 780,000 U.S. workers have filed new unemployment benefits. The figure was the lowest since November and marks the third straight week of decline.
“The labor market continued to reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the department wrote in its assessment Friday.
“In January, notable job gains in professional and business services and in both public and private education were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in healthcare and in transportation and warehousing.”
The report also noted that the share of Americans working remotely, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, declined last month to 23.2%.
ADP and Moody’s Analytics said in their private labor assessment this week that employers added about 174,000 jobs to their payrolls in January.
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