WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKOW) -- The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February and the national unemployment rate fell from 7.9% to 7.7% in January, the lowest it's been in four years.
The February jobs report came out Friday morning and provided several encouraging details: Job growth has averaged more than 200,000 a month since November, wages increased and the job gains were broad-based, led by the most construction hiring in six years.
The unemployment rate had been stuck at 7.8 percent or above since September. The rate declined last month because the number of unemployed fell 300,000 to just over 12 million, the fewest since December 2008.
The jobs report shows more than half the decline occurred because 170,000 unemployed people found jobs, while an additional 130,000 stopped looking for work. People who aren't looking for jobs aren't counted as unemployed.
Job gains in January were downgraded from initial estimates, from 157,000 added to 119,000. However, December hiring was a little stronger than first thought, with 219,000 jobs added instead of the 196,000 originally estimated.
Improved car sales and a steady housing recovery are spurring more hiring, which some economists think could trigger more consumer spending and stronger economic growth.