US hiring strong in February but wage gains flat

The US economy pumped out a strong 295,000 new jobs in February despite some severe weather disruptions and mounting layoffs in the oil industry, the Labor Department reportedThe US economy pumped out a strong 295,000 new jobs in February despite some severe weather and mounting layoffs in the oil industry, but workers’ wage gains remained limited. The better-than-expected jobs number sent the unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent, from 5.7 percent previously, to the lowest level since May 2008, the Labor Department reported Friday. Hiring was strong in restaurants, health care and administrative services, and steady in construction and retail trade, despite some severe winter storms that locked down local economies in some regions including the northeast. The oil and gas industry, just beginning to cut back in the face of the crash of crude prices, shed about 8,500 jobs.

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