Employers added 157,000 jobs in January, falling slightly below projections, as the U.S. unemployment rate increased to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December.
The U.S. Department of Labor jobs report included upward revisions for both November and December. November employment gains were revised to 247,000 from a previously estimated 161,000, and December gains were bumped up to 196,000 from a preliminary estimate of 155,000.
The consensus projection by economists called for 168,000 new jobs and no change to the December unemployment rate.
Economists expect monthly job creation to average around 170,000 a month for the remainder of 2013. That would be slightly above the average monthly gain from the previous two years of 153,000 jobs.