The economy added 157,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate rose slightly from 7.8 to 7.9 percent, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics called that “essentially unchanged.”

Retail trade, construction, health care and wholesale trade industries added jobs from December to January, according to thebureau.

Forbes reported that the recent increase in jobs is nearly equal to the monthly gains from recent years. It’s progress, but it’s slow, according to Forbes.

“Other downbeat measures have recently surfaced: The economy unexpectedly contracted to end 2012, and consumers are becoming increasingly unsettled,” according to Forbes writer Abram Brown.


The New York Times reported that January’s numbers were near what economists had predicted, although there still had been hope for a pleasant surprise.

Business in Washington, such as budget discussions and higher tax rates that started last month, could continue to put a dent in consumer confidence and early hiring for 2013, also according to The New York Times.

“Job growth has been steady but uninspiring in the last year, trudging along just barely fast enough to keepup with population growth, but not nearly quickly enough to put a major dent in unemployment. A backlog of 12.3 million idle workers remains,” NYT writer Catherine Rampell wrote.

Click here to read about last month’s report.