WASHINGTON — Nonfarm U.S. payrolls increased by a disappointing 36,000 in January as the unemployment rate dropped to 9.0%, the lowest level since April 2009, and severe winter weather affected employment in some sectors, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Private payrolls added 50,000 workers for the month, following gains of 139,000 and 128,000 in December and November, respectively.
The annual benchmark revision for 2010 cut the number of nonfarm payrolls previously reported by 411,000.
The winter storms across the country in January may have affected employment and wages, specifically in the construction sector, Labor said. Construction payrolls shed 32,000 jobs for the month, the largest decline since May. While some people may have lost work because of the snowstorms, others who deal with clean-up or repairs may have been added to payrolls, according to the department.
Economists expected an increase of 146,000 in total payrolls and 155,000 in private payrolls and an unemployment rate of 9.5%.