HIRING SLOWS: Nationwide, employers added only 119,000 jobs in January, the fewest in seven months. The lull may be temporary, as job growth picked up nationally in February and the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.7 percent.
SOME RELIEF: Some long-suffering states showed improvement in January. Florida's unemployment rate fell below the national level for the first time in five years. And Michigan, which has benefited from the comeback of the auto industry, added 26,500 jobs in January.