The U.S. added 157,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9%, but the economy added more jobs in 2012 than previously estimated, with a large chunk coming in the final months of the year.
Economists had expected an increase of 170,000 jobs last month, with unemployment dipping to 7.7% from 7.8%.
Employment gains for December and November were revised sharply higher, according to new Labor Department figures released Friday. The number of new jobs created in December was revised to 196,000 from 155,000. November’s figure was revised to 247,000 – the biggest increase in 10 months – from 161,000.
The large gains in hiring in January took place in retail, construction, health care and wholesale trade. Employment was little changed in manufacturing and fell in government and transportation and warehousing.
Average hourly wages, meanwhile, rose 4 cents to $23.78 while the average workweek was flat at 34.4 hours.
Annual government revisions of employment also showed that the U.S. added 335,000 more jobs in 2012 than originally estimated. That works out to 181,000 new jobs a month, above the prior projection of 153,000. In 2011, monthly job growth averaged 175,000 compared to a prior estimate of 153,000, based on revised data.