Unemployment rate falls to four-year low

WASHINGTON — The nation’s unemployment rate fell in February to a new four-year low of 7.7 percent as employers added a stronger-than-expected 236,000 jobs over the month, thanks in good part to the rebounding housing market.

The Labor Department said Friday that the new jobless rate, which declined from 7.9 percent in January, was the lowest since December 2008, when the unemployment figure was 7.3 percent.

Although some of the rate drop was the result of workers leaving the labor force, the improvement reflected solid job gains across a broad swath of industries. Growth was led by the construction sector, which added 48,000 jobs last month — the most in a single month since March 2007.

The strengthening housing market also gave a lift to other sectors: Employment in financial services benefited from the addition of nearly 9,000 new jobs at real estate and leasing offices. Furniture makers and retailers also bulked up, as did architectural and engineering services.

Health care businesses and restaurants continued to expand at a strong pace.

Government employment, on the other hand, dropped by 10,000 jobs, as state and local offices cut back. Federal payrolls were flat.

Many analysts are expecting the fiscal spending cuts under the so-called sequestration to slow job growth in the coming months, but there was little hint of that in Friday’s report.

January’s job growth number was revised lower, to 119,000 from 157,000 initially estimated. But most of that was offset by changes in December’s payrolls, which were revised up to 219,000 from 196,000 previously reported.

More in Business

Voters are on the sidelines as the port fills a vacant seat

Troy McClelland resigned from the Port of Everett commission too late for an election before 2019.

In space capsules today, little room but big improvement

Boeing and SpaceX are relying on a tried-and-true design as they each develop new spacecraft.

First Boeing KC-46 delivery to Air Force slides into 2018

Certification milestones have been missed, and problems have emerged in flight test, a source says.

Newest must-try eatery: 85°C Bakery Cafe in Lynnwood

The popular bakery, part of a Taiwan-based chain, is already drawing out-the-door crowds.

Snohomish County tax liens

Tax liens are gathered from online public records filed with the Snohomish… Continue reading

Trudeau: Canada could stop dealing with Boeing over dispute

Boeing had petitioned the U.S. to investigate government subsidies of Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft.

Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy but keeps stores open

Retailers of all kinds are struggling. Toys ‘R’ Us is among at least 18 other bankruptcies this year.

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

‘Cheese that was grass 24 hours ago’ wins a farm accolades

Ferndale Farmstead specializes in authentic Italian cheeses — made with with American milk.

Most Read