THE US economy added 236,000 jobs last month, pushing the jobless rate to a four-year low.
The better-than-expected data from the Labor Department out this afternoon showed the economy gaining traction despite higher taxes and deep spending cuts.
The jobless rate fell to 7.7 per cent, the lowest since December 2008, from 7.9 per cent in January.
The upbeat jobs report added fuel to a rally in US stocks, which has already pushed the Dow Jones to record highs. The dollar strengthened and yields on 10-year US Treasuries also rose sharply.
Although December and January's employment data was revised to show 15,000 fewer jobs added than previously reported, details of the report were solid, with construction adding the most jobs since March 2007 and increased hours for all workers.
Job gains in February were well above the 195,000 monthly average for the three months to January.