The Labor Ministry's report of 379,000 new jobs added outside agriculture beat economists' forecast of 182,000. This is more than double the number added in January. Stock indices rose.
Major US stock indices rose before the opening of trading on Friday as the market reacted positively to an increase in new jobs amid rising economic activity, falling COVD-19 illnesses, mass vaccination and easing of quarantine measures in states.
The US economy added 379,000 new non-farm jobs in February, double economists' forecast of 182,000. The figure for January was revised up significantly from 49,000 to 166,000, but the figure for December was lowered from a loss of 227,000 to 306,000.
According to the Labor Department report, most of the job gains came in the entertainment and hospitality industry: 355,000 out of a total of 379,000. Bars and restaurants added 286,000 jobs; hotels and hotels added 36,000 jobs; entertainment, gambling and recreation: 33,000 jobs.
Health care jobs increased by 46,000 in February and retail jobs increased by 41,000; the manufacturing sector also showed an increase of 21,000 jobs.
Among the sectors that suffered job losses: education, local and state government fell by a total of 69,000, construction by 61,000, and mining lost 8,000. Overall, there were 8.5 million fewer Americans employed in February compared to a year ago, and that number was down only slightly from January.
The data suggests that the job market is gradually recovering, but it still has a long way to go to recoup the losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Thursday that the central bank would not raise interest rates until the labor market reaches full employment, even if that means risking higher inflation.