The U.S. economy added 113,000 jobs last month, according to the government. That’s an improvement from December, but was far weaker than hoped. Economists had been expecting an addition of 178,000 jobs.
Many economists had also been hoping that December’s weak job gains would be revised much higher, as many experts were quick to write off the December report as a fluke. The number was revised higher, but only by 1,000 jobs to 75,000.
Lowest unemployment in 5 years, but: The unemployment rate was 6.6% in January, as 10 million Americans were counted as unemployed. Overall, the unemployment rate has improved substantially since it peaked at 10% in 2009 and is now at its lowest level in more than five years.
That said, much of the decline in unemployment has come for a discouraging reason: some Americans are dropping out of the labor force. As of January, only 63% of Americans over age 16 participated in the labor market — meaning they either had a job or looked for one. This matches the lowest level since 1978.
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