Jobs Growth Beats Estimates, Manufacturing Weak Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Jobs Growth Beats Estimates, Manufacturing Weak

Wall Street analysts weren't expecting to beat January numbers. Estimating non-farm payrolls to add just 235,000 jobs and dip in the jobless rate to 5.6%.

The U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February, smashing estimates and pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wall Street analysts weren't expecting to beat January numbers, estimating non-farm payrolls to add just 235,000 jobs and a dip in the jobless rate to 5.6%.

Manufacturing saw a gain of 8,000 new positions. The number is "a real weak spot in the jobs report," according to Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

It’s the 12th straight month of growth by more than 200,000 jobs. And the lowest the unemployment rate has been since May 2008.

A continuing drag is wage growth. Paychecks were higher by just 0.1%, and 2% year over year.

Areas that saw the biggest gains were food service, health care and administrative services.

The oil industry meanwhile, took a hit on lower prices and demand, losing nearly 8,500 jobs.

Follow this link for the complete report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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