The rate of unemployment rose up to four percent - from the 3.9 percent that was recorded last December - as did the number of people that are unemployed, increasing to 6.5m.
The average hourly earnings also increased by 3.2 percent year-on-year.
The unemployment rate, however, did tick up 0.1 percentage point to four percent, largely as a result of the longest government shutdown in US history. The five-week disruption left 800,000 federal employees furloughed or forced to work without pay and was expected to cost the economy $US11 billion, about a third of which may never be recovered.
Gains occurred in a number of sectors: Leisure and hospitality added 74,000 jobs, construction 52,000, health care about 45,000, retail almost 21,000 and manufacturing 13,000.
The U.S. economy gained jobs for the 100th straight month, adding 304,000 jobs in January.
China's economy is decelerating sharply and Italy's economy has entered recession, exacerbating fears that slower global growth will cut into USA exports. Job growth was boosted by hiring at construction sites, retailers and business services as well as at restaurants, hotels and amusement parks.More news: Irish police seize firearms, explosive near border with Northern Ireland
Tens of thousands of contracted federal employees that were not working during the government shutdown and are not legally entitled to compensation equal to the hours they missed may have been counted as unemployed in the DOL's numbers for January.
The figure was far in excess of economists' forecasts of 165,000. Manufacturing payrolls increased by only 13,000 in January, reflecting the more downbeat sentiment in an array of industrial sectors that are vulnerable to slower global growth.
Even though the shutdown was not expected to interrupt the average 200,000 jobs per month that have been added over the last decade, some in the White House had been bracing for weaker-than-expected results. That could be because more people entered the labor market who were previously not counted, due to long-term joblessness.
Last month was overblown: Figures for the two prior months were revised down to show 70,000 fewer jobs created than the total 490,000 initially estimated for November and December.
"Blockbuster job number distorted by workers forced to accept part time employment to make ends meet during government shutdown". The wage number is long overdue, and the jobs number continues to outpace the underlying demography.
The furloughed workers were, however, considered unemployed on "temporary layoff" in the separate survey of households from which the jobless rate is derived.
US economic growth is slowing from its rapid 2018 pace, but the continued robust gains in employment may cause pause to commentators that have been calling for recession.
And for most of January, the weather was relatively warm in much of the United States, which likely boosted construction employment. The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not reflect those of Berenberg Capital Markets, LLC.