Unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008

8 Mar

U.S. employers ramped up their hiring in February, helping the unemployment rate to fall to its lowest level since December 2008.

The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February, according to a Labor Department report released Friday. That’s much stronger growth than in January, when employers hired a revised 119,000 workers.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% last month, the lowest since December 2008, from 7.9% in January, figures showed.

Employment increased in professional and business services, construction and health care.

Employment growth has risen by an average of 195,000 a month in the last three months, figures show. Analysts had forecast a rise of 165,000 jobs for February.

Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs last month, while the construction industry hired 48,000 employees. The health care industry added 32,000 jobs and the retail sector added 24,000 new staff.

Following the release of the jobs figures, stocks on Wall Street opened higher with the Dow Jones index up 62.23 points at 14,391.72 . The dollar also gained against the euro and the yen.

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