U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:07 am

The U.S. economy added 295,000 new jobs in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, blasting past economists’ expectations of about 240,000 new jobs.

The national unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent in January, the lowest since May 2008, when the rate was 5.4 percent.

Businesses added jobs across industry sectors, including food services and retail, professional and business services, construction, health care, transportation and warehousing. Government payrolls rose only by 7,000, and jobs in the mining industry decreased.

The BLS revised January’s job gains to 239,000 from 257,000 and left December’s 329,000 estimate unchanged. National job gains have averaged 288,000 per month the past three months.

Construction employers added 29,000 jobs in February and 321,000 over the past year, reaching the highest employment total in six years, as the sector’s unemployment rate fell to an eight-year low of 10.6 percent, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America.

“Despite challenging weather conditions in much of the country, both the number of workers and their average weekly hours rose last month to the highest levels since the recession,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “There are lots of good-paying, full-time jobs available in construction, with more work on the way.”

Construction employment totaled 6,353,000 in February, the highest mark since February 2009, with a 12-month gain of 321,000 jobs or 5.3 percent, Simonson noted.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.0 percent in January from 5.2 percent in December, according to the Department of Workforce Development.

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