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“Manufacturing, Construction Drive Strong Jobs Report Sarah Gle
/Texas Motor Speedway/Getty Images What Happened:

The U.S. economy drummed up 235,000 new jobs last month, according to a report published Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Goods-production outfits enjoyed their best month for expansion since 2000, adding 95,000 positions. Construction companies contributed 58,000 jobs while manufacturing positions accounted for 28,000 of February’s workforce gains.

The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.7 percent, while the labor force participation rate ticked up to 63 percent. Average hourly wages were up 2.8 percent over the year.

What It Means:

“Job gains and wages continued to move in the right direction. Notable gains were seen in manufacturing and also in construction, in part due to unseasonably warm weather,” Tara Sinclair, a senior economic fellow with the Indeed Hiring Lab, said in a statement Friday.

Analysts broadly chalked goods-production strength up to favorable weather conditions throughout much of the country. But the slight improvements to labor force participation and unemployment suggest the economy in February stood on solid ground.

President Donald Trump appeared to take at least implicit credit for the strong report, retweeting the Drudge Report’s Friday morning tweet that simply read “GREAT AGAIN: +235,000.

“The president looks forward to continuing his work with the private sector to clear roadblocks to key infrastructure projects, withdraw from job-killing trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and slash the bureaucratic red tape that makes additional hiring difficult for American businesses,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during a briefing Friday, calling the report a sign that “businesses are continuing to grow and create new jobs.”

Trump on the campaign trail repeatedly suggested data put out in the government’s monthly jobs reports u2013 namely, the unemployment rate u2013 were fake.

But Spicer indicated Friday the president stands behind the accuracy of February’s report.

“I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote him very clearly: ‘They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now,'” Spicer said. Trade Deficit Hits Highest Level Since 2012
Trade Deficit Hits Highest Level Since 2012 (John Greim/LightRocket/Getty Images) What Happened:”

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