Labor Department Report: U.S. Economy Added 157,000 Jobs In January; Unemployment Rate Up to 7.9%

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The jobs recovery continued to crawl forward at a slow pace in January, and there's little hope it will pick up any time soon.
The U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in January, according to a Labor Department report released Friday. That's slower growth than in December, when employers hired 196,000 workers. 

Call it "Groundhog Day in the labor market," said Heidi Shierholz, economist with the Economic Policy Institute. "It's the same old crap. We've been waking up to this same story for two years."

The unemployment rate was 7.9% in January, as 12.3 million people were counted as unemployed. Overall, hiring is barely keeping pace with population growth, and the Labor Department noted that the unemployment rate has barely changed since September.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney are expecting job growth to continue in 2013 at roughly the same pace as last year, when the economy added 2.2 million jobs. They predict the unemployment rate will end the year at 7.5%.

Beata Caranci, vice president and deputy chief economist at TD Economics, said that many of the job gains are likely to happen at the end of the year though. 

Construction hiring could be one of the highlights this year. It was the single hardest hit sector in the recession but has recently shown some signs of life. In January, construction firms added 28,000 jobs, reflecting a stronger housing market and rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy.

Caranci is predicting that construction alone will account for roughly a quarter of all the jobs added in 2013. 

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SOURCE: CNN Money
Annalyn Kurtz
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