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Goldman’s Hatzius on jobs: ‘We’ve hit a pothole’

January's employment report was a "disappointment, but not a massive one," Goldman Sachs' chief economist told CNBC on Friday, and represents a bump in the road rather than a deeper problem.

Goldman Sachs' Jan Hatzius said the 113,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy last month signaled that national output growth could be slowing down. The sluggish job growth may shave off a percentage point in average monthly GDP during the first half of 2014 compared with the 3.7 percent GDP pace the U.S. saw during the second half of last year, he said.

(Read more: Fed on a wire: What to make of the jobs report?)

"To me it looks like we have hit a pothole and the inventory moves can give you those potholes," Hatzius said on "Squawk on the Street." "You had a lot more growth in the second half of last year than I think anybody expected. … Overall I think we're in a better place from a growth perspective than we were two to three years ago."

Jan Hatzius, chief economist of Goldman Sachs.Jonathan Fickles | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hatzius blamed bloated inventories for the slow job growth, rather than the frigid weather that many credited with keeping consumers from shopping in December and January.

"It's an inventory story," he said. "I don't think there was much weather in this employment report, but clearly January and February numbers are going to be affected."

(Read more: Weak jobs number alone won't sway Fed: Fisher)

Last month's job numbers came in much lower than consensus estimates, which forecast 180,000 new jobs. Hatzius was more optimistic, expecting 200,000 new jobs. Goldman Sachs correctly predicted the unemployment rate would dip a single percentage point to 6.6 percent, according to a research note.


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