The economy continues to grow stronger, adding more than 300,000 jobs in February. The construction industry led the charge, adding 61,000 new jobs.
The economy added 313,000 jobs in February, crushing expectations, while the unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent, according to a Labor Department report Friday that could help quell inflation fears.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had been expecting nonfarm payroll growth of 200,000 and the unemployment rate to decline one-tenth of a point to 4 percent.
An increase in the labor force participation rate to its highest level since September helped keep the headline unemployment number steady, as the number of those counted as not in the workforce tumbled by 653,000 to just over 95 million.
The total counted as "employed" in the household survey surged by 785,000 to a record 155.2 million.
A separate measure that takes into account those out of the workforce and the underemployed — sometimes referred to as the "real" unemployment rate — held steady at 8.2 percent.
Stocks surged following the report, with the Dow industrials up 375 points Friday afternoon after being slightly negative before the news.
The last time the unemployment rate was this low was in December 2000.