Stalled recovery: Just 49,000 jobs added nationally in January; estimated employment for previous two months reduced.

Today’s jobs report disappoints. 

The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in January, while
nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+49,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. The labor market continued to reflect the impact of the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In January, notable job gains in
professional and business services and in both public and private education were offset
by losses in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care, and in
transportation and warehousing.

The Associated Press reports

America’s employers barely added jobs last month, underscoring the viral pandemic’s ongoing grip on the economy and likely adding momentum to the Biden administration’s push for a bold rescue aid package.

The increase of just 49,000 positions in January made scarcely any dent in the nearly 10 million jobs that remain lost since the virus intensified nearly a year ago. The tepid increase followed a decline of 227,000 jobs in December, the first loss since April.

The unemployment rate fell sharply in January from 6.7% to 6.3%, the Labor Department said Friday. Most of the drop in unemployment occurred because some people out of work found jobs, but others stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.

Calculated Risk’s comments sum it up:

The headline monthly jobs number was below expectations, and the previous two months were revised down 159,000 combined.  The headline unemployment rate was declined to 6.3%.
This report was worse than it appears.   The not-seasonally-adjusted decline in employment was at the usual levels for January – even though employment was already depressed (we’d expect fewer seasonal layoffs than normal).  Also, the weather appeared mild in January (the SF Fed will provide weather adjusted employment soon).
Overall, this was another disappointing report.