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Financial News Network
March 05, 2011 AT 10:07 AM
Non-farm payrolls grew by a seasonally adjusted 192,000 per month in February, the fastest hiring pace since last May, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.9%, the lowest since April of 2009.Underlying data was especially encouraging. December growth was revised to 152,000, and January to 58,000, a net of 58,000 more jobs. Among all industries, 68.2% were hiring, up from 60% in January. That is the highest range of hiring since May of 1988.Businesses hired 222,000 workers in the month, while state and local governments cut 30,000 jobs.Many believe the Fed will want to see payroll gains of 200,000 for at least six and a significant decline in unemployment before beginning to withdraw monetary support from the economy and raising interest rates.With the jobless rate still historically high and inflation still well short of the Fed's target of close to 2 percent, analysts expect the Fed to complete its $600 billion government bond-buying program through June, and keep interest rates steady at near zero, to ensure a full economic recovery.