151,000 Jobs Added in January, Unemployment Fell to 4.9 Percent

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 151,000 in January, down from last month’s downwardly revised total of 262,000 jobs. The national unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent.

The services sector added 118,000 jobs, down from 197,000 in January. The majority of new service jobs were in retail sales, which added 57,700. Retail employment rose in general merchandise stores, electronics and appliance stores, and motor vehicles and parts dealers. January’s retail gains help to negate some of the planned retail layoffs announced earlier in the month.  Healthcare and social assistance followed with 44,000 new jobs, consistent with last month’s total.

Among goods producing industries, manufacturing posted strong gains, adding 29,000 jobs, an increase from 13,000 in December. Growth in construction employment trailed off, adding 18,000 jobs in January, less than half of December’s total. The mining industry continued to shed jobs, falling by 7,000 in January. Since peaking in September 2014, the industry has lost 146,000 jobs.

The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.7 percent in December.

The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was also unchanged at 2.1 million. The number of discouraged workers, those who gave up looking for work was 623,000, unchanged from a year ago.

Average hourly earnings rose by 12 cents to $25.39 in January. Year-over-year, earnings grew 2.5 percent.

Read the BLS release.