US employment growth rebounded less than expected in January and job losses the prior month were deeper than initially thought, strengthening the argument for additional relief money from the government to aid the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The labour department said on Friday nonfarm payrolls increased by 49,000 jobs last month. Data for December was revised to show 227,000 jobs lost instead of 140,000 as previously reported.
December's drop was the first in eight months and came amid renewed restrictions on businesses like restaurants and bars to slow a resurgence in coronavirus infections.
The unemployment rate was at 6.3% in January. The jobless rate has been understated by people misclassifying themselves as being "employed but absent from work". Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 50,000 jobs in January.