U.S. economy adds 379,000 jobs in February, beating expectations

People walk past a plastic covered section outside an eating area at a restaurant in Washington, DC on February 14, 2021.
(Image credit: DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

The latest U.S. jobs report is in, and it significantly surpassed expectations.

The Labor Department said Friday the U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate declined slightly to 6.2 percent. This was above the 210,000 jobs economists were expecting, CNBC reports.

The report comes after last month's jobs report showed the U.S. economy added only 49,000 jobs in January, which experts at the time said pointed to sluggish improvement in the labor market. But that January number on Friday was revised up to 166,000 jobs.

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"In February, most of the job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, with smaller gains in temporary help services, health care and social assistance, retail trade, and manufacturing," the Labor Department said. "Employment declined in state and local government education, construction, and mining."

At the same time, The Washington Post notes that this is still "below the rate needed to regain the more than nine million jobs lost since last year."

"The engine of economic recovery is restarting as the pandemic's winter wave recedes, although there is still a long way to go," Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao wrote, noting that "the economy would need to add almost 1 million jobs a month for the rest of 2021 to return to pre-crisis levels by the end of the year."

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