Job growth accelerated in February for a U.S. economy wrestling with swelling prices, the potential for higher interest rates and intensifying geopolitical problems.
Nonfarm payrolls for the month grew by 678,000 and the unemployment rate was 3.8%, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
That compared to estimates of 440,000 for payrolls and 3.9% for the jobless rate.
In a sign that inflation could be cooling, wages barely rose for the month, up just 1 cent an hour or 0.03%, compared to estimates for a 0.5% gain. The year-over-year increase was 5.13%, well below the 5.8% Dow Jones estimate.
For the labor market broadly, the report brought the level of employed Americans closer to pre-pandemic levels, though still short by 1.14 million. Labor shortages remain a major obstacle to fill the 10.9 million jobs that were open at the end of 2021, a historically high gap that had left about 1.7 vacancies per available workers.
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