U.S. added 242,000 jobs in February, new data shows

(WASHINGTON POST) Chico Harlan, March 4, 2016 — The U.S. added a strong 242,000 jobs in February, new government data showed Friday morning, a sign of the nation’s economic durability during a tumultuous global slowdown.

The unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent, the lowest mark during the seven-year recovery from the Great Recession.

The gains extend a period of labor market stability in which the U.S. has added an average of 235,000 jobs per month over the last half year. That pace indicates Americans are returning rapidly to the labor force, helped by steady consumer spending that is bolstering demand and prompting employers to expand their workforces.

Though stock markets from New York to Shanghai have signaled alarm bells about the stability of the global economy — particularly amid a period of volatile oil prices and diminished demand in China — the U.S. performance of late is likely to boost confidence among investors.

“The financial markets’ panic over a possible recession in the U.S. has been misplaced, if the string of jobs reports are any indication,” said Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst at

The data released by the Department of Labor also showed improved jobs numbers for December and January. Combined, gains in those months were revised upward by 30,000.

February’s increase beat the expectations of economists, who had predicted the U.S. created 191,000 new jobs for the month. U.S. stock markets were relatively flat on the news in their opening minutes of trading Friday.

Source: U.S. added 242,000 jobs in February, new data shows – The Washington Post