WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring tumbled in February, with U.S. employers adding just 20,000 jobs, the smallest monthly gain in nearly a year and a half. The slowdown in hiring, though, might have been depressed by harsh winter weather and the partial shutdown of the government.
Last month’s weak gain came after employers had added a blockbuster 311,000 jobs in January, the most in nearly a year. Over the past three months, job growth has averaged a solid 186,000, enough to lower the unemployment rate over time.
And despite the tepid pace of hiring in February, the government’s monthly jobs report