Eva Knott 4:04 a.m., May 23
U.S. adds 236,000 jobs in February, unemployment rate drops
At 7.7%, February jobless rate lowest in five years
The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%, lowest since December of 2008, during the Great Recession. Economists had expected 160,000 jobs with the rate staying at 7.9%. Government shed 10,000 jobs, but the private sector added 246,000, with strength across the board. Many economists fear a drop in hiring because of the Congressional budget dispute, the onset of higher tax rates, the threat of federal spending cuts, and the storms. However, the federal spending cuts went into effect March 1, so were not reflected in February data. The spending cuts and tax rate concerns could affect results later in the year.