WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a robust 235,000 jobs in February and wages rose at a healthy clip, a sign the economy remains on solid footing after nearly eight years of recovery.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to a low 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent. More Americans launched job searches, lifting the proportion of Americans working or looking for work to the highest level in nearly a year.

The healthy job growth, decent pay gains and falling unemployment rate will make the Federal Reserve even more likely to raise short-term rates when it meets next week.

The job gains were boosted by 58,000 new construction jobs, the most in nearly a decade. That figure was likely boosted by unseasonably warm weather in much of the nation.

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