The U.S. job-creation engine remained revved up in February, defying Old Man Winter and expectations for lower growth, government data showed on Friday.
Wage growth, however, remained sluggish, rising by a mere three pennies an hour, or a 2.0 percent annualized gain. The average work week was 34.6 hours, essentially unchanged.
The Labor Department reported that non-farm payrolls rose by 295,000 last month, versus January's unrevised 329,000, extending for another month one of the the best streaks of jobs growth since the late 1990s. The unemployment rate slipped to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent, Economists on average had been expecting a payrolls number of 240,000 with a jobless rate of 5.6 percent.
Food services and drinking establishments gained 59,000 jobs, while professional and business services tacked on 51,000. Construction added 29,000 jobs last month, which saw record-breaking cold and snow in some parts of the country.
-- Patrick Rizzo