Unemployment now at 6.6 percentPosted on
Employers added 113,000 jobs in January and the jobless rate to fall to a five-year low of 6.6 percent.
Since October, the rate has decreased by 0.6 percentage point, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
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,” stated an Associated Press analysis of the latest numbers.
The Labor Department said the job gain was lower than the average monthly gain of 194,000 in 2013. It follows December’s tepid increase of 75,000.
Still, more people began looking for work in January and some of the jobless were hired, reducing the unemployment rate to its lowest level since October 2008.
Job gains have averaged only 154,000 during the last three months, down from 201,000 in the preceding three months.
Cold weather and a deluge of storms likely held back hiring in December, economists said, but the impact faded in January. Construction companies, which sometimes stop work in bad weather, added 48,000 jobs last month.
“On an absolute kind of real-economy basis, this does confirm that there’s probably some degree of slowness out there, but I don’t think it’s catastrophic,” Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial, which manages $81.6 billion for clients, told CNBC.
“You had the same kind of differential last time, where the unemployment rate is going down at the same time as we get a very disappointing number. Clearly, there’s some kind of discrepancy between the establishment survey and the household survey. The best explanation for that is weather.”