There has been little sign of a recovery in the US labour market.
The latest government figures showed employers there cut another 20,000 jobs in January.
The job loss figures for the previous two months were revised, upwards for December, but in November there was a significant improvement.
The overall unemployment rate did fall to 9.7 percent of the working population having been at or above 10 percent for the previous three months.
But a big factor there is that more Americans are giving up on the idea of getting work.
The number of so-called ‘discouraged job seekers’ rose to 1.1 million in January from just under three quarters of a million a year ago.
US President Barack Obama said the figures showed the United States was climbing out of the “huge hole” created by the recession but cautioned that they were not cause for celebration.
Obama called the data encouraging, while cautioning that jobs figures would fluctuate for months to come.
There was some good news in the statistics.
Manufacturing payrolls rose 11,000 last month, the first gain since January 2007.
And last month, the services sector added 40,000 jobs after shedding 96,000 positions in December.
However the figures also showed that US companies are increasing overtime and the number of hours that employees work rather than hiring new people.