The economy added 151,000 jobs in January, a dip below the 231,00 monthly average we've seen over the past three months, according to the report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning. The unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent, the first time it's been below 5 percent since February 2008.
Probably the best news in this morning's report is that average hourly earnings increased by 12 cents, to $25.39. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent, a good sign for a figure that had been relatively stagnant during the recession and recovery.
The gains among industry sectors were fairly broad-based. Retail trade added 58,000 jobs in January, and health care was up 37,000. Manufacturing added 29,000 jobs in January, and employment in financial activities rose by 18,000.