The jobs report from the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday offers a much starker picture of the economic climate than expected.
According to the report, the U.S. economy added 113,000 new jobs in January, far below the 180,000 analysts predicted. It was an improvement from December, which saw only 74,000 new jobs added, but does not represent a strong start to the year for businesses.
The report finds private employers added 142,000 positions to their payrolls in January, while government employment dropped by 29,000. Several individual sectors recorded gains, including manufacturing, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.
Retail trade sector employment decreased by 13,000. Federal government employment lost 12,000 jobs, the majority from the U.S. Postal Service.
A report earlier this week by payroll processing firm ADP, which uses a different method of collecting data than the Labor Department, found that January marks the weakest month for hiring since August. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, which helps ADP compile its report, said the cold and stormy weather was partly to blame, a popular theory for the weak December report as well.
On a more positive note, the Labor Department's employee productivity measure was higher than expected in the fourth quarter of 2013, helping to restrain labor costs, Bloomberg reports.