There were 372,000 fewer Americans who were hired in January, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There were 5,401,000 hires in December 2015. That number declined to 5,029,000 in January 2016.
"Large number of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle," states the bureau. "Net employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations."
There were 4,903,000 million separations in January, which include individuals who left their job, either because they quit, were laid off, or were discharged. That number declined from 5,128,000 in December, a decline of 225,000.
"When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining," states the bureau. "Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the hires level is steady or rising."
While the number of Americans leaving their job declined by 4.4 percent in January, the number of hires declined by a greater rate of 6.9 percent.
Of those who left their job in January, 2.8 million quit voluntarily, representing 57 percent of total separations. There were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in January, which represents 35 percent of separations.