The January jobs numbers released earlier on Friday show that while the private sector added 166,000 jobs, the government shed 9,000 positions in January.

Those job losses have ripple effects throughout the economy, economist Dean Baker explained. "If these people were still getting paychecks, they would have spent them, and that would have employed people elsewhere in the economy," the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research told The Huffington Post. He estimated that government job cuts have cost the economy more than 1 million jobs total.

The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, not much lower than a year ago. In contrast, the unemployment rate averaged 4.6 percent just before the recession, according to BLS.

The government has cut 719,000 jobs since President Barack Obama took office, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some economists said this has stymied jobs growth, since the government is a major employer, and its employees' spending provides income to other workers.

"The stimulus was helpful, but it wasn't nearly enough," said Baker, who also blogs for The Huffington Post.

The government now is focused on deficit reduction instead of helping put people back to work, he said. "No one is talking about how we shouldn't be cutting the deficit; we really need more jobs and that means larger deficits. No one prominent in the debate is saying that."

The government reduced the maximum duration of unemployment benefits last year. But instead of boosting hiring, this only led some jobless workers to give up looking for work, according to a statement from Baker. (Receiving unemployment benefits is contingent on searching for a job.) The average duration of unemployment has declined over the past year from 40 weeks to 35 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The government is scheduled to soon slash spending even more. The government recently postponed but did not eliminate the sequestration, across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to kick in starting on March 1 after a congressional committee formed in response to the debt ceiling crisis failed in 2011 to agree on a deficit reduction plan.

The Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, estimates that sequestration would eliminate 689,000 jobs in 2013 and cut GDP growth by 0.6 percentage points.

Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former Obama administration economic adviser, who also blogs for HuffPost, said that letting the sequestration go into effect probably would send the unemployment rate up to 8.2 percent.

"While the government's fiscal policy was adding to growth back in 2009 and 2010, at this point it's subtracting from growth," Bernstein said, pointing to the end of the stimulus and payroll tax cut. "If state and local employment had held up instead of falling so quickly, the unemployment rate would easily be a point lower than it is today [6.9 percent]."

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • 10. Optometrists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 33.1 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 11,300 <strong>Median income:</strong> $94,990 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Hawaii, North Dakota, Montana Optometrists specialize in the care of eyes and vision. Their responsibilities include diagnosing eye injuries and diseases, as well as prescribing glasses and contact lenses. In order to practice, they are required to have a Doctor of Optometry degree, presently awarded by just 20 accredited programs, and must be licensed by the National Boards in Optometry. Those who meet these qualifications are often extremely well-compensated: the top 10% of optometrists earned in excess of $166,400. With vision problems becoming more frequent as people grow older, the number of optometrists is expected to rise by 33.1% between 2010 and 2020. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 9. Occupational Therapists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 33.5 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 36,400 <strong>Median income:</strong> $72,320 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire "Occupational therapists treat patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working," according to the BLS. Becoming an occupational therapist requires a master's degree, which generally takes two years to complete. The number of occupational therapists is expected to reach 145,200 by 2020, as an aging baby-boomer generation looks to maintain its independence and stay active. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 8. Veterinarians

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 35.9 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 22,000 <strong>Median income:</strong> $82,040 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Montana, Colorado, Iowa "Occupational therapists treat patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working," according to the BLS. Becoming an occupational therapist requires a master's degree, which generally takes two years to complete. The number of occupational therapists is expected to reach 145,200 by 2020, as an aging baby-boomer generation looks to maintain its independence and stay active. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 7. Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 36.4 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 36,400 <strong>Median income:</strong> $76,700 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Massachusetts, California, Washington Though the roles of medical scientists vary from job to job, all study biological systems to understand their effects on human health. Medical scientists often work for the federal government, at research universities or in the private sector. By 2020, the number of medical scientists is projected to increase to more than 136,000, as the population of the United States grows and ages and the demand for prescription drugs rises. Educational requirements are quite high, with most positions asking for either a doctorate or a medical degree. The annual pay of the top 10% of medical scientists was $142,800. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 6. Audiologists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 36.8 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 4,800 <strong>Median income:</strong> $66,660 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> New Mexico, Colorado, West Virginia Audiologists treat patients who have problems with their hearing, balance or ears. A doctoral degree is necessary, as is a state license, though exact requirements differ by state. Explaining projected job growth, the BLS notes that "hearing loss increases as people age, so an aging population is likely to increase demand for audiologists." There are not very many audiologists, and a projected 36.8 percent increase in jobs would bring the total number of audiologists to 17,800 by the end of the decade. Annual salaries exceeded $102,210 for the top 10 percent of audiologists. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 5. Dental Hygienists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 37.7 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 68,500 <strong>Median income:</strong> $68,250 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Michigan, Utah, Idaho From 2010 to 2020, the number of dental hygienists is projected to rise by 37.7 percent to more than 250,000. Factors driving increased demand for this occupation include ongoing research linking oral health to general health, as well as an aging population keeping more of its teeth. Dental hygienists typically do not need a professional degree or previous work experience, though they often need an associate's degree and a license. Typical job responsibilities include cleaning teeth and taking dental X-rays. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 4. Physical Therapists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 39.0 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 77,400 <strong>Median income:</strong> $76,310 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine Physical therapists assist patients by helping to address and correct dysfunctional movement and pain. They are required to have a postgraduate professional degree, typically a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a license. Those completing these prerequisites join one of the fastest-growing professions in the country -- by 2020, the number of positions is expected to rise by 39 percent. The BLS states that "demand for physical therapy services will come, in large part, from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life than previous generations did." The top 10 percent of physical therapists earned more than $107,920. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 3. Market Research Analysts And Marketing Specialists

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 41.2 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 116,600 <strong>Median income:</strong> $60,570 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Delaware, Massachusetts, New York Market research analysts work in most industries, monitoring and forecasting marketing and sales trends, as well as collecting and analyzing data on their companies' products or services. To become a market research analyst, a bachelor's degree is typically required, though many analysts have a master's degree. Citing increases in the use of market research across all industries, the BLS projects the number of positions in the field will rise to almost 400,000 by 2020. Top-earning market research analysts made more than $111,440 annually. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 2. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 43.5 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 23,400 <strong>Median income:</strong> $64,380 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Rhode Island, Florida, South Dakota Diagnostic medical sonographers work in hospitals and other facilities, conducting ultrasounds on patients and analyzing the resulting images. The BLS projects an increase of 43.5 percent in the number of positions between 2010 and 2020, which would raise the total number of such jobs to 77,100. Explaining the driving factors behind the growth, the BLS states that "as ultrasound technology evolves, it will be used as a substitute for procedures that are costly, invasive or expose patients to radiation." Sonographers typically need an associate's degree, and many employers prefer candidates to have professional certification. The top 10 percent of sonographers made more than $88,490 annually <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 1. Biomedical Engineers

    <strong>Percent increase:</strong> 61.7 percent <strong>Total new jobs (2010-2020):</strong> 9,700 <strong>Median income:</strong> $81,540 <strong>States with the most jobs per capita:</strong> Massachusetts, Utah, Minnesota The work of biomedical engineers typically involves designing or maintaining biomedical equipment, such as artificial organs and X-ray machines. These jobs often require a great deal of technical knowledge in fields such as biology, engineering, math and chemistry. Because of this, a bachelor's degree is typically needed. The professional requirements come with impressive compensation. The median income for such jobs was $81,540 and the top 10 percent earned more than $126,990. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of biomedical engineers is projected to rise by 61.7 percent, more than four times the projected growth rate for all jobs, which is 14 percent. To explain its growth projections for the profession, the BLS cites the baby boomer generation's growing demand for biomedical devices and procedures as it "seeks to maintain its healthy and active lifestyle." <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/08/30/the-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2/#ixzz258VQKtNN" target="_hplink">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>