U.S. employers add robust 304,000 jobs; joblessness up to 4 percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers shrugged off last month’s partial government shutdown and engaged in a burst of hiring in January, adding 304,000 jobs, the most in nearly a year.

The healthy gain illustrates the job market’s durability nearly a decade into the economic expansion. The U.S. has now added jobs for 100 consecutive months, the longest such period on record.

The Labor Department also said Friday that the unemployment rate rose to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, but only for a technical reason: Roughly 175,000 federal workers were counted as temporarily unemployed because of the shutdown.

Job growth in December was revised sharply lower, to 222,000 from a previously estimated 312,000.

Still, hiring has accelerated since summer, a development that has surprised economists because hiring typically slows when unemployment is so low.

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