Lowest rate since February 2009.
Both numbers were far better than consensus, which expected a growth of 150,000 jobs and a steady unemployment rate of 8.5 percent.
Stock market futures jumped on the report, indicating a positive opening on Wall Street. Treasury yields also moved sharply higher on the news.
The overall work week remained unchanged at 34.5 hours while wages rose an average of four cents an hour to $23.29.
The private sector boosted payrolls by 257,000, led by large increases in manufacturing, professional services, leisure and hospitality and health care. . . . Job gains for December and November were revised up by a combined 60,000
So, public sector still losing jobs. Note upward revisions for prior two months.
The jump in employment was broad-based, including manufacturing, construction, temporary help agencies, accounting firms, restaurants and retailers. The number of industries showing job gains climbed to 64.1 in January from 62.4 a month earlier.
Factory workers put in an average 41.9 hours of work each week, the most since January 1998, while overtime hours climbed to the highest since March 2007. Manufacturing payrolls increased by 50,000 in January, the most in a year.
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Construction companies added 21,000 workers last month. Government payrolls decreased by 14,000 in January, reflecting cuts at the federal and local levels.
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The so-called underemployment rate -- which includes part- time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking -- decreased to 15.1 percent from 15.2 percent.
Factory and manufacturing data is encouraging.
Even if this turn outs to be the best report of the year, and there's no way of knowing that, it can serve to turn the psychology of the electorate to a positive direction. A turn in electoral psychology is sort of like a ship, slow to turn, but hard to stop once it starts turning.