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the coronavirus crisis

U.S. economy adds 49,000 jobs in January as unemployment rate declines to 6.3 percent

The U.S. economy gained jobs last month, but showed "sluggish" improvement almost a year into the coronavirus crisis.

The Labor Department said Friday the U.S. economy added 49,000 jobs in January, while the unemployment rate declined from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent. Economists were anticipating about 50,000 jobs would be added, though some projected a higher number, CNBC reports.

The Friday report comes after the economy previously lost 140,000 jobs in December in the first monthly loss in jobs since April, though that number was later revised to 227,000, per The New York Times. The number for January signaled a "sluggish recovery," CNN reported, while NBC News wrote that it pointed to the recovery's "ongoing fragility."

"Though we gained jobs in January after a December loss, this is not a we've-turned-the-corner report," said Navy Federal Credit Union economist Robert Frick, per CNBC. "We especially shouldn't take solace that the unemployment rate fell dramatically given that's mainly because more Americans dropped out of the labor force."

Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao also said that while the economy gained jobs, the improvement was "sluggish as the pandemic continues to restrain the economic recovery." Zhao added, "While the economic recovery is rebooting, it's still coming off a cold start."