In February, the economy added 295,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics.
Wage growth, however, disappointed, as average hourly earnings rose 0.1% month-on-month in February and rose 2% over the prior year.
February marks the 12th straight month of jobs gains over 200,000.
Over the last three months, job gains have averaged 288,000.
The unemployment rate, at 5.5%, is at its lowest level since May 2008.
The labour force participation rate was at 62.8% in February.
According to the BLS, job gains occurred in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, construction, health care, and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in mining was down over the month, with jobs in mining declining by 9,000 in February.
In February, food services and drinking places added 59,000 jobs. The industry had added an average of 35,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months, according to the BLS.
Via Bloomberg, here’s a quick overview of what Wall Street was looking for:
- Nonfarm payrolls: +235,000
- Unemployment rate: 5.6%
- Average hourly earnings, month-on-month: +0.2%
- Average hourly earnings, year-on-year: +2.1%
- Average weekly hours worked: 34.6
January’s report was also revised slightly lower, to show payrolls grew by 239,000, lower than the 257,000 that was initially reported.