U.S. adds a strong 242,000 jobs; rate holds at low 4.9 pct.

Mar 4, 2016 8:58 AM by Cheryl Wengren

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. employers added a robust 242,000 workers in February as retailers, restaurants and health care providers drove another solid month for the resilient American job market.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent.

The pickup in job gains shows that the U.S. economy has largely weathered a broader global slowdown without suffering much blowback. Worker pay slipped last month after accelerating in January. But more Americans who had been sitting on the sidelines began searching for jobs and found them.

Employers expect solid consumer demand in the months ahead even though the stock market has turned turbulent, oil prices have hurt energy industry jobs and a stronger dollar has reduced export sales.

Retailers added 54,900 jobs last month. Restaurants and bars added 40,200.


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