The White House says Friday's new jobs numbers show the U.S. economy is "continuing to heal," but warns Congress to act to avoid looming spending cuts.
White House economist Alan Krueger says U.S. lawmakers should avoid automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set for March 1 and instead adopt new policies balancing revenue and spending.
The government reported Friday that employers added 157,000 jobs in January, while the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a point to 7.9 percent.
The U.S. unemployment situation has been improving slowly since the end of the recession.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank during the October through December period. But overall in 2012, the economy expanded 2.2 percent, up from 1.8 growth in 2011.