Hiring surge adds 313,000 jobs in February, most in 19 months

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers went on a hiring binge last month, adding 313,000 jobs, the most since July 2016, and drawing hundreds of thousands of people into the job market.

The Labor Department said wage gains, meanwhile, fell from the previous month to 2.6 percent year-over-year growth.

Strong hourly wage growth had spooked markets in February because it raised the specter of inflation. But January’s figure was revised one-tenth of a point lower to 2.8 percent.

The influx of new workers kept the unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1 percent.

The surge of job gains likely reflects burgeoning confidence among businesses that the Trump administration’s tax cuts will accelerate growth.

Consumers are also optimistic, likely because after-tax income grew at the fastest pace in a year last month, aided by the tax cuts.

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