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Unemployment

Source: MCT / Getty

Last month, the US economy gained a surprisingly strong 313,000 jobs. That was much stronger than economists expected and the best showing since July 2016.

Unemployment stayed at 4.1%, the lowest in 17 years.

Wages grew 2.6% in February compared with a year earlier, according to Labor Department figures published Friday.

February’s numbers could establish a baseline to measure the impact of trade restrictions and retaliation over the coming months.

This report also clears the way for the Federal Reserve Board to raise the benchmark interest rate when it meets this month under its new chairman, Jerome H. Powell.

Job growth has been consistently strong. Even before this latest report, the three-month average job growth was roughly 200,000 a month. At the same time, other information released by the government this week showed initial jobless claims still near their lowest level in almost 50 years, suggesting layoffs are down and employers are trying to hold on to their workers.

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