The U.S. economy added 242,000 jobs in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remained consistent at 4.9%. This means that people are re-entering the job market, allowing the unemployment rate to stay. However, 4.9% is considered full employment in the United States.
February was a much stronger month for job growth than January which added 172,000 jobs. January’s jobs report was revised upwards.
The growth was much higher than expected. Many predicted 195,000 jobs added with even high estimates only going as high as 245,000 jobs.
The report was not all good news though. Wages are continuing to be a sore spot in the recovery and average hourly wages dropped for the first time in more than a year. Workers also registered fewer hours in February.
Retailers and health care both saw strong gains in employment after strong gains the previous month.
The participation rate is now 62.9%, the highest since January 2015.