WASHINGTON (February 1, 2013)--U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs in January and hiring was stronger over the past two years than previously thought, providing reassurance that the job market held steady while economic growth sputtered, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday.
But there was one cloud on the horizon; the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December.
The unemployment rate is calculated from a survey of households, while job gains come from a survey of employers.
The hiring picture over the past two years looked better after the department's annual revisions, which showed that employers added an average of roughly 180,000 jobs per month in 2012 and 2011, up from previous estimates of about 150,000.
And hiring was stronger at the end of last year, averaging 200,000 new jobs in the final three months.
The White House said the report shows the U.S. economy is healing, but warned Congress not to inflict wounds with looming spending cuts.
Alan Krueger, chairman of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, said the country continues to dig itself out of recession.
Krueger said Congress should avoid automatic, across-the-board spending cuts scheduled for March 1 and replace them with cuts and new tax revenue, but Republicans say that after letting tax rates rise for the wealthiest Americans, they are not willing to raise more taxes.
U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, said the report shows that the administration’s policies are failing.
“Our continued high unemployment rate, along with the news earlier this week that our GDP contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012, shows that our economy is far from recovered,” he said.
“Over the last four years, under the economic policies of President Obama, American families incomes have fallen by about 25 percent, the net worth of American families have fallen, more Americans than ever before are living in poverty, and tens of millions of Americans have been added to the rolls of food stamps and other welfare programs,” he said.