The U.S. unemployment rate stood steady at 4.9 percent in February as the economy added 242,000 new jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday.
Despite the fact that the 4.9 percent rate was the lowest since February 2008, analysts took a bleaker look and anticipated that there would be only 190,000 additional jobs.
"Employment gains occurred in health care and social assistance, retail trade, food services and drinking establishments and private educational services but job losses continued in mining," the Bureau said in a statement.
"The number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, was unchanged. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons was down by a 0.6 percentage point at 831,000," the Bureau said.
Figures for the two previous months of December and January were revised, from 262,000 to 271,000 jobs added in December 2015, and 151,000 to 172,000 in January this year.
"With these revisions, employment gains both for December and January combined were 30,000 more than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 228,000 per month," the Bureau said.
Meanwhile, the participation rate, which indicates the labor supply by measuring the share of population either working or looking for work, increased to 62.9 percent in February, from 62.7 percent in January.
However, weekly hourly earnings fell by 0.1 percent in February, below market expectations of 0.2 percent, and down from the 0.5 percentage increase the previous month.