The unemployment rate for December remained flat at 10 percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
The December payroll number was worse than forecast as non-farm payrolls fell by 85,000 last month, compared with a revised 4,000 gain in November.
Even though the payroll number was worse than expected, the data reflects an improvement in the jobs market. Job losses have been moderating substantially during 2009 as the U.S. economy recovers from its worst recession in decades, according to media reports.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, employment losses averaged 69,000 per month, compared to job losses of 691,000 a month in the first quarter of last year.