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U.S. unemployment rate rises to two-year high of 3.9 pct in February


PHOTO VIA @MarketWatch

WASHINGTON | Xinhua | U.S. employers added 275,000 jobs in February, the highest level in two years, with the unemployment rate rising to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday.

Job gains occurred in health care, in government, in food services and drinking places, in social assistance, and in transportation and warehousing, the report showed.

The unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 3.9 percent in February, and the number of unemployed people increased by 334,000 to 6.5 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.6 percent, and the number of unemployed people was 6.0 million.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 275,000 in February, above the average monthly gain of 230,000 over the prior 12 months.

“The details of the employment situation report point to a moderation ahead despite the robust hiring that has started the year,” Sarah House and Michael Pugliese, economists at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote in an analysis.

They noted that there were material downward revisions to job growth in the prior two months, and the unemployment rate rose to its highest level in just over two years.

Job growth for December was revised down by 43,000 to 290,000, and the growth for January was revised down by 124,000 to 229,000. With these revisions, employment in December and January combined is 167,000 lower than previously reported.

“Continued declines in temporary help workers, a rise in permanent job losers and a shift toward part-time work signal weakening demand for workers ahead,” the economists said. ■

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