U.S. economy smashes expectations with close to 700,000 new jobs in February thumbnail

U.S. economy smashes expectations with close to 700,000 new jobs in February

The U.S. economy added close to 700,000 jobs during the month of February, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly assessment — marking the second straight month that the jobs report soared past expectations.

The department said there were 678,000 new jobs last month. Most economists predicted that the report would show about 440,000 new jobs.

“The unemployment rate edged down to 3.8%,” the department said in a statement. “Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, healthcare and construction.”

Earlier this week, ADP and Moody’s Analytics said in their monthly labor snapshot that the economy added 475,000 private-sector jobs during February, substantially more than analysts expected.

The new report noted, however, that the total U.S. workforce is still about 2 million jobs shy of where it was two years ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today’s report shows that my plan to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out is working to get America back to work,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Friday.

“Since I took office, the economy has created 7.4 million jobs. That’s 7.4 million jobs providing families with dignity and a little more breathing room.”

By sector, the report said that leisure and hospitality added about 180,000 jobs, professional and business services added almost 100,000 and healthcare 64,000.

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