WASHINGTON -- Suggesting continuing weakness after December's poor numbers, the U.S. economy added 113,000 jobs in January, far fewer than economists had expected and suggesting continuing weakness after December's poor numbers, official data showed Friday.
While hiring was strong in construction and professional services, retailers and government authorities at all levels shed significant numbers of workers, pulling down the net gain, data from the Labor Department's survey of establishments showed.
Economists had forecast a gain of 175,000 jobs after December's paltry 75,000, to confirm economic growth was on track.
The January number was well below the 2013 average of 194,000 net new jobs per month.
Even so, the overall unemployment rate, based on a separate household survey, fell to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent, with data showing more people returning to the labor force and obtaining jobs.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014