(CN) – Employers added a robust 235,000 jobs in February, pushing the national unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent.
Friday’s report from the U.S. Labor Department suggests the U.S. economy is continuing to grow at a healthy pace, and seems sure to inspire the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates when it meets next week.
The government said more people reentered the job market and February, but that thanks to the increase in hiring, the unemployment rate nevertheless dropped a full percentage point, from January’s 4.8 percent.
Hiring over the past two months has averaged 237,000, up from last year’s monthly average of 187,000. Last month’s hiring was boosted by 58,000 additional construction jobs, the most in nearly a decade.
Average hourly pay also rose 2.8 percent year over year in February.