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U.S. Hiring Surges With 273,000 Gain Ahead of Hit From Virus

  • Jobless rate declines to match half-century low of 3.5%
  • Wages and hours worked both rose from prior month’s report
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U.S. Adds 273,000 Jobs in February, Jobless Rate Falls to 3.5%
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U.S. employment surged last month with the biggest gain since May 2018, indicating the labor market was on especially solid footing before the spread of the coronavirus intensified.

Payrolls rose 273,000 after the prior month was revised up to also reflect a 273,000 gain, according to Labor Department data Friday that beat all forecasts in Bloomberg’s survey calling for 175,000. The jobless rate fell back to a half-century low of 3.5% as average hourly earnings climbed a steady 3% from a year earlier.