“All signs are that the pandemic is easing its hold on jobs and the economy,” said Jane Oates, president of WorkingNation and a former Labor Department official. “Very strong numbers in very uncertain times.”
Employers added 678,000 jobs in February, the largest monthly total since July, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8%, from 4% in January, extending a sharp decline in joblessness to its lowest level since before the pandemic erupted two years ago.
Friday’s hiring figures were collected before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sent oil prices jumping and has heightened risks and uncertainties for economies in Europe and the rest of the world.
Yet the February hiring data suggest that two years after COVID-19 sparked a nationwide shutdown and 22 million job losses, the disease is losing its grip on America’s economy. More people are taking jobs or searching for work — a trend that, if it endures, will help ease the labor shortages that have bedeviled employers for the past year.
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