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U.S. Economy Added 379,000 Jobs in February, Bolstering Post-COVID Recovery

People who lost their jobs wait in line to file for unemployment following an outbreak of the coronavirus, at an Arkansas Workforce Center in Fort Smith, Ark., April 6, 2020. (Nick Oxford/Reuters)

The U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February, exceeding experts’ expectations as a decrease in COVID-19 cases and increasing vaccine distribution helped bolster the economy.

The growth exceeded expectations of 210,000 new jobs, as did the unemployment rate, which fell to 6.2 percent, according to a Labor Department report released Friday. Unemployment had been predicted to hold steady at January’s 6.3 percent rate.

Most of the job growth came from the leisure and hospitality sector, which gained 355,000 jobs. As dining restrictions were relaxed in a number of areas, bars and restaurants added 286,000 jobs while hotel-related hiring increased by 36,000 and amusement, gambling and recreation businesses added 33,000.

However, the industry is still 3.5 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic employment level.

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