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The economy's job creation engine sputtered along again in January, when employment rose by a lower-than-expected 113,000 and the jobless rate remained mostly flat at 6.6 percent, according to government data Friday.
It was the second straight month that job growth came in below economists' expectations. Wall Street had been predicting an increase in non-farm payrolls of about 185,000 and an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent. Employers added a meager 75,000 jobs in December, which revised upward by only 1,000 jobs.
The data could hit the stock market, unless investors chalk it up to the frigid weather that has gripped the nation for weeks. Stock futures, which had been higher prior to the data, turned lower, then rose again suggesting that stocks will open higher.
The jobless rate was the lowest since October of 2008.