The job market showed another weak gain last month as employers added 113,000 jobs, though weather may have distorted the employment picture for the second straight month.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.6% from 6.7%, the Labor Department said Friday.
December's job gains were revised up by only 1,000, to 75,000.
Economists surveyed by Action Economics estimated 185,000 jobs were added last month, according to their median forecast.
Construction added 48,000 jobs last month after losing 22,000 in December. Manufacturing gained and professional and business services added 36,000.
Cold weather was largely blamed for the disappointing number of jobs added in December, a sharp drop from the average 200,000-plus monthly gains from August through November. Some economists expected a sharp bounce-back last month as workers kept home by the inclement December weather returned to work. But others figured more bad weather in January again would depress employment totals.
Other economic reports have been mixed lately. A measure of manufacturing activity last month fell sharply in part because of weather effects. But an index of service-sector activity rose solidly and initial jobless claims — a gauge of layoffs — declined last week.
Economists generally have expected the economy and job market to pick up this year on an accelerating housing recovery and lower household debt, among other factors.