The U.S. created 313,000 new jobs in February, the biggest gain since mid-2016 and a reflection of the strongest labor market in two decades.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 222,000 increase in nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%. Hourly pay rose 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $26.75 an hour, the government said Friday. The 12-month increase in worker pay slipped to 2.6% from 2.8%, however.
The average workweek rose 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours. January job gains were raised to 239,000 from 200,000. The increase in jobs in December was revised up to 175,000 from 160,000.