U.S. job growth was a bit slower than expected in January, but once again, revisions to the prior months indicate employers hired more workers than previously believed.
The jobs report, a key data point on the health of the economy, showed that 111,000 workers joined nonfarm payrolls last month. Economists had expected 150,000 positions to have been created, a
The unemployment rate rose to 4.6% from 4.5%, the Labor Department said Friday. No change had been anticipated. Average hourly earnings rose a less-than-expected 0.2%.
As is becoming the rule rather than the exception, job growth for the previous two months was revised higher. The government now says 81,000 more employees were put to work in November and December than had been first thought.
Bond traders sent rates down, suggesting they believe the numbers are more indicative of a cooldown in the economy than strength. Lately, the 10-year note was up 9/32 in price and yielding 4.80%, and the 30-year bond was advancing 14/32 to yield 4.90%. Stock futures rose.
Job growth continued in service-providing industries, and construction employment also strengthened last month. The number of manufacturing jobs continued to decline.
As for the revisions, the Labor Department said 196,000 workers found jobs in November and 206,000 more began employment in December. In 2006, payroll employment rose by an average of 187,000 a month.
The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers fell by 6 minutes to 33.8 hours in January. Weekly hours for factory workers fell 12 minutes to 40.8 hours, while factory overtime hours slipped by 6 minutes to 4.1 hours.