According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States added 151,000 jobs to the job market, helping to bring the unemployment rate down to 4.9 percent.
The figure of 151,000 was lower than expected and was a sharp decline from the number of jobs that were added in December, which was 292,000. The lower figures were pushed down due to the loss of jobs in education and transportation.
General US economic growth slowed as well, down to an annual rate of only 0.7 percent during the last quarter of 2015. Third quarter growth was measured at 2 percent in 2015.
The statistics have investors worried, reflected in a downturn in the Dow Jones average which closed lower by 215 points, or 1.3 percent. For other investors the news is a sign that the Feds will most likely not raise interest rates.
“I’m a little surprised the markets reacted somewhat negatively to it,” said Sean Lynch at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “It is actually a pretty good number that should be welcomed by the equity markets, it takes some of the concern the Fed moves too quickly off the table a little bit.”