U.S. economy adds 235,000 jobs in President Trump’s first full month

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s first full month was a big one for jobs.

The U.S. economy added a robust 235,000 jobs in February, the Labor Department said Friday.

The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.7 percent. Unemployment peaked at 10 percent in 2009, after the financial crisis.

Economists say it will be a challenge for Trump to fulfill his promise to create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years. The unemployment rate is already very low, and many baby boomers have retired or left the job market.

At least in his first full month, though, Trump is on pace to fulfill that promise.

Last year, the economy averaged about 190,000 new jobs per month. The economy is showing other signs of strength: Consumer and business confidence is high and stocks are at record levels.

Wage growth continued showing signs of progress after persisting at a sluggish pace for years until 2016. Wages grew a solid 2.8 percent in February compared with a year ago.

Solid job gains almost certainly clear the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next week. Fed leaders such as chairwoman Janet Yellen said a rate hike in March would be appropriate if the economy stayed on track. It did just that.