U.S. hiring topped expectations in February, as the labor market added 273,000 jobs before the coronavirus began to affect the economy.
Unemployment ticked down slightly to 3.5 percent, returning to a half-century low, the Labor Department said Friday. Average hourly earnings rose by 9 cents over the past year to $28.52.
The numbers mark the 113th month of straight gains.
Employment gains for December and January were revised upward, bringing the average monthly job creation for the past three months to 243,000.
Gains took place across the board. Health care and social assistance led the way, and food services and drinking places boosted their payrolls, too. Construction added 42,000 jobs, following a similar gain in January.
As the U.S. continues the longest economic expansion on record, investors are looking at the DOL’s monthly payroll and unemployment data for signs that the growth over the past two years is softening.
Although consumer confidence remains near historic highs and the labor market is chugging along, concerns are mounting about how the coronavirus outbreak could affect global growth.
Companies were surveyed before the virus began to impact growth.
Source: Fox Business