Economy adds 49K jobs in January, unemployment ticks down to 6.3 percent

The U.S. added 49,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, a 0.4 percentage point drop, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

The uptick in jobs shows the recovery from the coronavirus recession resumed last month after December job losses, but the report underscored the deep damage yet to be repaired from the pandemic-driven economic crisis.

“This jobs report suggests signs of a nascent overall recovery, but food insecurity, costs of caregiving, persistently high unemployment, and small business stagnation necessitate emergency relief that targets those being left behind — especially women, people of color, and lower income workers,” said Nicole Goldin, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, in a Friday analysis.

“Without further stimulus, our ability to get kids back in school and more fully reopen the economy will stymie consumer confidence, hiring, and investment.”

January’s drop in the unemployment rate and meager increase in hiring defied the consensus expectations of economists, who projected a gain of 100,000 jobs and an unchanged jobless rate.