WASHINGTON — Nonfarm U.S. payrolls increased by 192,000 in February as private sector payrolls jumped by 222,000, while the unemployment rate edged lower to 8.9%, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Total payrolls for January and December were revised higher, adding a combined 58,000 to the nation’s work force.
Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector added 33,000 for the month, with most of the gains coming in durable goods industries.
Construction-sector employment also snapped back, adding 33,000 jobs in February after disruptive winter storms in January caused temporary layoffs.
The unemployment rate, pegged at 8.9%, is the lowest since April 2009. The 222,000 gain in private payrolls was the largest since April 2010.
January private payrolls were revised up to a gain of 68,000 from the 50,000 increase reported last month.
Economists expected 178,000 total non-farm payrolls and 185,000 private sector payrolls, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters. They expected the unemployment rate to drift up to 9.1%.