The U.S. economy added nearly 400,000 jobs last month, far surpassing economists' forecasts and reinforcing expectations that the labor market has passed its worst.
The Bureau for Labor Statistics said that 379,000 new jobs were created last month, tipping the headline unemployment rate down to 6.2%. The February tally was far higher than the market forecast of 185,000.
The jobless rate is well down from its 14.8% peak in April 2020 but still remains above pre-pandemic levels, when unemployment was near 50-year lows. The rate may also understate the degree of job loss a year into the pandemic, many economists say, because millions of Americans, particularly women, have dropped out of the labor force.
What's more, while hiring is showing signs of accelerating, the U.S. still had 9.5 million fewer jobs last month compared with a year earlier — just before the coronavirus rolled across the U.S. and brought the economy to a standstill.
Watch the video above to get more insight into the February nonfarm payrolls numbers and how markets are responding.