The U.S. economy created a modest 157,000 jobs in January while the unemployment rate edged higher to 7.9 percent, consistent with a recovery that is just ambling along, at best.
The Labor Department's report Friday was about as expected, but despite its tepid results, it at least may dispel some worries about the economy after the poor showing in the fourth quarter.
The hiring picture over the past two years looked better after the department's annual revisions. Those showed 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.