Jump in hiring fuels optimism for US economic recovery

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a surprisingly robust 379,000 jobs last month, a sign the economy is strengthening as virus cases drop, vaccinations ramp up, Americans spend more and states ease business restrictions.

The February gain marked a pickup from the 166,000 jobs added in January and a loss of 306,000 in December. Yet it represents just a fraction of the 10 million jobs that were lost to the pandemic.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.2%, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly jobs report.

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