The average work week rose by 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours.
January's initial estimated wage gain - showing the biggest increase since the recession ended - had stoked concerns in financial markets that bigger than expected paychecks would lead to higher inflation and cause the Fed to shift its plan toward more aggressive rate increases. "This report has a Goldilocks feeling about it: incredibly strong growth but no real wage pressure", said Luke Bartholomew, an investment strategist at Aberdeen Standard Investments.
Better hiring was supported by Americans entering the workforce in larger numbers.
Overall, U.S. employment rose by 313,000 last month, according to the BLS.
While Powell said there was no evidence of the economy overheating, he added "the thing we don't want to have happen is to get behind the curve". This growth rate outpaced the 2017 earnings rate of 2.5 percent and will spur optimism that a tight labor market conditions will finally show up in worker pay. The dollar .DXY was largely unchanged against a basket of currencies. Experts had forecasted a gain of just 200,000 jobs for the month.
Some economists have noted that the muted wage growth could encourage the dovish members in the Federal Reserve to call for looser monetary policy.
Never mind. That figure fell back to 2.6 percent in February.
"There's one really big story here, and that's the average hourly earnings", Jonathan Golub, chief United States equity strategist at Credit Suisse, tell The New York Times.
The report came a day after President Trump slapped new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, a move which some economists believe could slow economic growth by raising consumer prices, and possibly spurring retaliatory trade measures overseas, slowing American exports.
Unemployment dropped significantly from the previous month for blacks (7.7 percent to 6.9 percent). Why the commitment to raising rates when wage growth is restrained, inflation remains low, and - this is key - there are still enough potential workers out there to allow for more than 300,000 new jobs in a single month? More specifically, jobs in oil and gas extraction (which fall under the mining categorization) increased by 1,100. Employment in the manufacturing sector, which is supported by strong domestic and global demand as well as a weaker dollar, rose by 31,000. Construction has added a total of 185 k jobs over the past 4 months.
Education and health services jobs also saw a decline of 4,600 jobs, while the leisure and hospitality industry saw an increase of 2,800 to a record high, the department said. There's no economic law that demands that February won't top January (ahem, monthly data is volatile), but in my view, it is more likely to return to a pace closer to the prevailing trend.