U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain but not enough to push down the unemployment rate.
America's unemployment rate remained unchanged from November at 7.8 percent.
Many analysts say the latest Labor Department report offers hope to the future of the American economy, even as as lawmakers in Washington vow to make fixing it a top priority.
The "gain is perhaps better than it looks given that firms were probably nervous about adding workers with the fiscal cliff looming," Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, said. "Nevertheless, the overall picture is that the labor market remains lackluster."
The government is set to hit the debt ceiling limit soon. If Washington doesn't increase it's borrowing limit by late February, it will risk defaulting on its debt.
"Our government has built up too much debt," Speaker of the House John Boehner said. "Our economy is not producing enough jobs. These are not separate problems."
Republicans say they'll demand deep spending cuts as the price of raising the debt limit.