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After mixed results in January, the U.S. jobs report released Friday shows that 678,000 non-farm payroll jobs were added in February, and the return of skilled labor in residential construction is reason alone for optimism.

As a result the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% from 4.0% in January. The unemployment rate remains higher than the 3.5% unemployment rate recorded in February 2020, just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Job gains were strong again in February, with multiple aspects of the report highlighting a tight labor market,” MBA SVP and chief economist Mike Fratantoni said in a statement. “With job gains of 678,000, there is only a 1.4% gap in the level of employment compared to February 2020, and at this pace, the gap could be closed in three months.”