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Job creation jumps in February, and here’s who’s hiring

Seana Smith
·Anchor

The U.S. economy added a better-than-expected 242,000 jobs in February, following a 172,000 rise in January as the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9%.

“The headline number was very strong. It was overwhelmingly a step in the right direction,” Joanie Courtney, senior vice president of Monster Worldwide, told Yahoo Finance in the video above. “The only concern that we really saw was that wages fell.”

Average hourly wages fell 3 cents, lowering the annualized jump to 2.2%. But despite this decline, companies were hiring employees across various sectors. So which industries added the most jobs?

“There was a tremendous amount of jobs growth in both professional business services and health care, and we even saw construction bringing back jobs, which is a very good sign for the economy.”

Health care and social assistance added 57,000 jobs, construction added 19,000 jobs, and private educational services employment rose by 28,000 in February. But the sector that really caught some by surprise was retail.

“Retail added 55,000 jobs, and while I expected to see growth, this is a very strong number especially for the month of February,” said Courtney. “That sector is interesting to watch right now since they’re under a lot of wage pressure. We saw that Costco (COST), one of the largest retailers in the country, announced that it is raising wages. So the retail sector is adding jobs, they will be raising wages, and that will ultimately lead to the hourly wage moving up, which was the only downside to this report today.”

The labor force participation rate, which is a measure of the active portion of the labor force, rose to 62.9% from 62.8%, the highest since January 2015.