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US job engine sputters for second month, adds to global concerns over US economy

New data raises questions on whether the US Fed should continue to cut back bond-buying program.

Published on Feb 7, 2014 9:39 PM
 A job ad on a window of a restaurant on December 6, 2013 in New York City. -- PHOTO:AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US job creation engine sputtered for the second straight month in January, raising fresh questions about the economy’s momentum.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy pumped out a net 113,000 new jobs in January, far fewer than the 175,000 that economists had forecast and even farther off the monthly average for last year of 194,000.

While hiring was strong in construction and professional services, retailers and government authorities at all levels shed significant numbers of workers, the department’s survey of business establishments showed.

It came on the heels of January’s 75,000 net hirings, which analysts had hoped was a seasonal fluke explained by severe weather conditions in much of the country.

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