The economy added 295,000 jobs in February while the unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 240,000 jobs to be added. That makes 12 straight months with job increases above 200,000, the longest run since 1994.
Job growth was led by food service and drinking places with 59,000 jobs, professional and business services with 51,000 jobs, construction with 29,000 jobs, and health care with 24,000 jobs. Retail also added 32,000 jobs.
Hourly wages rose by 3 cents in February and have risen by 2 percent over the last year.
January’s jobs numbers were revised down from 257,000 by 18,000 and December remained unchanged.