President Biden praised a stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report on Friday, as employers added 678,000 workers in February.
“Our economy has now added 7.4 million jobs since I took office,” Mr. Biden tweeted. “This is what Building a Better America looks like.”
The unemployment rate fell to 3.8% in February, down from 4% the previous month, the Labor Department reported.
Friday’s hiring figures were collected before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sent oil prices surging and has escalated risks and uncertainties for economies in Europe and the rest of the world.
The gains in hiring underscored the economy’s solid health as the omicron COVID-19 wave fades and more Americans venture out to spend at restaurants, shops and hotels despite surging inflation. New COVID infections in the U.S. have plummeted since late January.
Consumer spending has risen, spurred by higher wages and savings. Restaurant traffic has regained pre-pandemic levels, hotel reservations are up, and far more Americans are flying than at the height of omicron.
The jobs report couldn’t prevent a negative opening on Wall Street Friday morning, where fears of the economic fallout from the fighting in Ukraine overshadowed the employment gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off slightly at the start of trading, down 139.23 points, or 0.41% at the opening bell.
Cecilia Rouse, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Friday’s report reflected broad growth in all major industries, including trucking and manufacturing, as the economy regains its footing after bruising waves of the coronavirus.
“The February jobs report is extremely solid,” she told reporters in the White House briefing room. “Overall the recovery from the pandemic recession has been faster than any of the past recessions.”
She said her council is monitoring the war in Ukraine and actions by the Federal Reserve that could alter the economic landscape.
“Quite honestly, we go into 2022 from a position of economic strength,” she said. “The bones of this economy are strong and it has the resilience to weather what is ahead of us.”
• Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this story, which is based in part on wire-service reports.