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U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February

The latest report from the Bureau of Labor statistics found the U.S. economy generated 295,000 new jobs in February, while the unemployment rate ticked down a bit to 5.5 percent, from 5.7 percent in January. Average hourly earnings for all workers also rose to $24.78, up from $24.75 in January. The December 2014 jobs creation number of 329,000 was unchanged, and January 2015 was revised downward, from 257,000 to 239,000.

The February numbers actually beat out the expectations of Wall Street economists, who were anticipating 235,000 new jobs, an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, and an increase in average hourly earnings of 0.2 percent from January. The last month job growth fell below 200,000 — roughly the threshold needed to keep up with population growth — was January of 2014. So this remains the longest stretch of sustained growth above that mark since the early 1990s.