The U.S. economy added just 20,000 jobs in February, the Labor Department reported Friday, far below analysts’ expectations of 180,000 jobs.
It was the worst month for job creation since September 2017, when two major hurricanes hit the employment market.
However, the unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.8 percent as the labor force participation rate held steady at 63.2 percent. Hourly earnings also increased 3.4 percent in the past 12 months, which beat expectations.
In addition, lobs gains for the previous two months were revised up, with December moving from 222,000 to 227,000 while January went from an initially reported 304,000 to 311,000.