U.S. Job Report Strong Amid Coronavirus Concerns

The global coronavirus outbreak hasn’t hurt the strong U.S. labor market … yet.

Unemployment in February dropped slightly, to 3.5 percent from 3.6 percent in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, national payrolls rose by 273,000 positions last month, well above 2019’s average monthly growth of 178,000.

By industry, healthcare and social assistance saw the biggest gains, with a rise of 57,000. It was followed by the food service and bar industry, which increased by 53,000. Government agencies added 45,000 jobs, led by state government education departments.

Average hourly earnings, which have risen by three percent over the last year, were up slightly, rising to $28.52 across industries. 

Results for March will be released by the BLS on April 3.