The construction sector led job gains with 58,000 workers added to its payrolls, spurred by warmer-than-usual February temperatures. Employment in the professional and business services sector increased by 37,000, and manufacturing jobs were up 28,000. The education and healthcare sectors also showed healthy employment gains (29,000 and 27,000 respectively). Retail trade employment fell by 26,000 during the month. An increase in labor force participation in February helped nudge the unemployment rate down slightly to 4.7% and the participation rate up slightly to 63.0%. Wage growth was solid again, as average hourly earnings were up by six cents in February following a five-cent increase in January.
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