(CNSNews.com) - For the second month in a row, hiring fell short of analysts' expectations, as the economy added 113,000 jobs in January -- less than the 170,000 that were forecast.
The 113,000 jobs added in January follows December's increase of just 75,000 jobs (revised up by just 1,000 from the 74,000 initially reported in December).
Job gains have averaged only 154,000 in the past three months, down from 201,000 in the preceding three months, the Associated Press reported.
The nation's unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point, to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent. That 6.6 percent is the lowest rate since October 2008.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.2 percent), adult women (5.9 percent), teenagers (20.7 percent), whites (5.7 percent), blacks (12.1 percent), and Hispanics (8.4 percent) showed little change in January. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down by 1.7 percentage points over the year.
“The American people continue to ask, ‘Where are the jobs?,’ and the president clearly has no answers," House Speaker John Boehner said shortly after the January numbers came out.
He repeated that the Republican-led House has passed "dozens of initiatives that will help create jobs and expand economic opportunity. We are ready to improve job training, expand markets for American exports, approve the Keystone pipeline, and much more."
Boehner accused President Obama and Democrats of "standing in the way."
Even before the January jobs numbers were released Friday morning, the Associated Press said the results could have been skewed by several factors, including unseasonably cold weather; and revisions to last year's job growth and U.S. population figures.
"Finally, a cutoff of extended unemployment benefits in December might have caused an artificial drop in January's unemployment rate. That could give a misleading snapshot of the job market's health," the AP reported.