U.S. unemployment rate unchanged at 8.3% for February
Although U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs in February to complete three of the best months of hiring since the recession ended, the Labor Department says the unemployment rate remained at 8.3% largely because more people streamed into the work force. Hiring in January and December was also better than first thought. The government revised those figures to show 61,000 additional jobs. The economy has now generated an average of 245,000 jobs in the past three months. The only stretch better since the recession began was in early 2010. "Overall, another very strong payroll report, and there's every chance that March will bring more of the same," says Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist with Capital Economics. Another relatively strong month of hiring makes it less likely that the Federal Reserve will take additional steps to boost the economy at its meeting next week. Nearly a half million people began looking for work last month, and most found jobs, the report says. That's a sign of growing optimism in the job market, as many people who had given up on looking for work came off the sidelines to search for jobs. The Associated Press has the full story here.
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