After a revised gain of 146,000 in January, the economy generated 97,000 jobs in February, the Labor Department reported March 9.
The Labor Department figure on nonfarm payrolls, seen as one of the best indicators of economic activity, was in line with expectations and appeared to suggest continued growth, albeit slower than last year's pace. The figure, in line with Wall Street forecasts, was the weakest since January 2005.
But the agency revised upward its estimates for January to show 146,000 new jobs instead of 111,000 and 226,000 in December from 206,000.
The unemployment rate, taken from a separate survey of households, dipped to 4.5% of the active population from 4.6%.
The report reflected a 62,000 drop in construction jobs, the sharpest decline in the sector since 1991. This could have been affected by bad weather in February.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007