Unemployment ticked down slightly to 3.5 percent, returning to a half-century low, the Labor Department said Friday. Average hourly earnings rose by 9 cents over the past year to $28.52
The payroll number surged past the estimate of 175,000 from economists surveyed by Refinitiv, who also saw the unemployment rate holding steady from January's 3.6 percent.
It marks the 113th month of straight gains.
As the U.S. continues the longest economic expansion on record, investors are looking at the Department of Labor’s monthly payroll and unemployment data for signs that the rapid job growth over the past two years is softening and leading way to an overall growth slowdown.