After a sluggish jobs report last month, those rooting for the American economy were hoping to see real improvements in today's figures. Fortunately, that's exactly what happened.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 242,000 jobs in February, well above projections. The overall unemployment rate remained steady at 4.9%, matching a low last seen eight years ago, in February 2008.
Making matters even better, the revisions were also heartening: December's job totals were revised up, from 262,000 to 271,000, while January's totals were also revised up, from 151,000 to 172,000. Combined, that's an additional 30,000 previously unreported jobs.
All things considered, this is a very strong report reinforcing beliefs that the U.S. labor market is resilient and healthy.
Over the last 12 months, the overall economy has created 2.67 million new jobs, which is a very encouraging number. What's more, February was the 65th consecutive month of positive job growth -- the best stretch since 1939 -- and the 72nd consecutive month in which we've seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record.
Above you'll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction – red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.