US economy adds 311,000 jobs in February

The US Department of Labor says the economy added 311,000 new jobs in February. The figure was significantly above market expectations.

Officials at the department released the numbers on Friday as part of their monthly report on employment.

President Joe Biden said the figures show his administration is achieving its goal of putting Americans back to work.

Biden said, "Today's numbers are clear. Our economy is moving in the right direction."

Demand for workers was particularly strong in the leisure and hospitality sectors. Analysts say an unseasonably warm winter is drawing people out of their homes and into restaurants and bars.

The report said the number of people out of work in February rose slightly. In January, US unemployment was at 3.4 percent, the lowest level in more than half a century. The new report puts the figure at 3.6 percent.

Business owners who hired aggressively during the pandemic are slowing down, especially in transportation and warehousing.

Still, the labor market remains strong, and inflation remains persistent. The situation has led policymakers at the Federal Reserve to warn that they are "likely" to continue raising interest rates, even though that may have a negative impact on the employment situation.