Employers in the United States 353,000 workers to their payrolls, the Department of Labor said Friday.
The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent in the prior month.
The previous two months were revised upward. The November figure was revised up by 9,000 to 182,000. The December number was revised up by a stunning 117,000 to 333,000.
Economists had expected the economy to add 185,000 after payrolls were reported as increasing by 216,000 in December and 173,0000 in November.
Jobs grew by 105,000 in October. In September, employers grew their payrolls by 262,000. In August, payrolls rose by 165,000.
The unemployment rate was expected to tick up to 3.8 percent.
In total, the economy added over 2.4 million jobs in 2023, the lowest since the pandemic ended and Joe Biden became president. Compared with the pre-pandemic years, however, this was a high level of job growth, much of it driven by sectors still rebuilding from mass layoffs due to lockdowns and the pandemic. The last time the economy added this many jobs in a year was 1999.
Average hourly earnings grew 0.6 percent in the month, twice as fast as expected and up from 0.4 percent in the prior month. Compared with a year ago, average hourly wages were up 4.5 percent. The Federal Reserve is likely to view this rate of wage growth as risking a rise in inflation.
The private sector added 317,000 jobs, far beyond the 142,000 expected and the 164,000 originally reported for Decembder. The December figure for private hiring was revised up to 278,000.
The manufacturing sector, which has been struggling under the weight of higher interest rates, added a very strong 23,000 jobs, up from an upwardly revised 8,000 in December. Economists had expected just 5,000 jobs in January after the preliminary report of 6,000 for December.
Government employment rose in January by 36,000 workers. That is below the average monthly gain of 57,000 in 2023.