January was a second straight disappointing month for U.S. job seekers, though mainly in the government and retail sectors with the end of the holiday shopping season.
Only 113,000 jobs were added last month, after an even softer 75,000 gain in December.
The Labor Department report would have looked much better without the job losses from two major industries. Governments shed a seasonally adjusted 29,000 jobs last month. The U.S. Postal Service cut 8,500 after the holiday rush ended. An additional 14,100 school jobs were cut by state and local governments.
Retailers slashed payrolls by 12,900. Those losses came primarily from sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.
But there were also signs of underlying strength in Friday's report. Construction added 48,000 jobs, compensating for the loss of 22,000 in December. This suggests that the building of homes and commercial spaces should continue its recent strength.
Factories added 21,000 workers, most of them involving the manufacture of long-lasting goods. That also points to stronger growth this year. And Americans still feel they can afford to eat out, as restaurants and bars hired 14,800.
Here's a look at the jobs added or lost in each major industry category: