Job-seekers at a job fair in San Mateo, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Economists had expected growth of about 210,000. The official unemployment rate remains at 8.3 percent.
Daniel Gross, economics editor of Yahoo! Finance, writes that the report "confirmed that we have a trend of decent employment growth."
As has been the case recently, all of the growth came from the private sector. Private employers added 233,000 jobs, while the public sector shrank by 6,000.
The numbers mean that over the last six months, more jobs have been produced than during any six-month period since 2006, well before the recession began. Job growth in December and January also was revised upward.
Still, 12.8 million Americans remain officially out of work—essentially the same number as last month.
Republicans appear set to argue this fall that with their party in power, the recovery would have been quicker and stronger. President Obama will point to the crisis atmosphere that reigned when he took office in early 2009, and to the positive trend.
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