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January shows “unexpectedly” weak jobs growth yet again

A big swing and bigger miss for job growth in January

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Employers added just 113,000 jobs in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, well below what economists predicted and 62,000 fewer than what ADP forecast.

Economists had wildly optimistic predictions of 150,000 to 225,000 jobs for January. This follows December’s even bleaker job growth of just 75,000, revised upward from 74,000.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 113,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.6%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

At 113,000 jobs, that's well below what is needed to keep up with population growth. No doubt the mainstream press will focus on the 0.1% decline in the overall unemployment rate, but the U-6 unemployment rate — the full measure of those not working — was 12.6%. (Read story on the real unemployment rate here.)

Since October, the jobless rate has decreased by 0.6% point, almost entirely due to people dropping out of the labor force rather than job growth.

Employment grew in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and mining, despite the cold January and the decline in factory orders.

In pre-market activity, the report sent stocks into a tizzy with gains in bonds and gold.

More concerning, the BLS report said 262,000 Americans were not at work because of inclement weather in January, which was little changed from the same month last year, suggesting conditions played a more limited role than in December than the optimistic spin doctors have been saying.

On Thursday, the Senate fell just shy of the votes needed to move forward with legislation to temporarily extending federal unemployment benefits for three months.

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