The US economy created the lowest number of jobs for a year-and-a-half in February, well below forecasts.

Just 20,000 new jobs were created last month against expectations of a 180,000 increase, official figures show.

It is the lowest growth in non-farm payrolls since September 2017 when employment was affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

However, the small rise followed a sharp increase in new jobs in January, which was revised up to 311,000.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist Pantheon Macroeconomics, said that the expectation for 180,000 new positions in February was too high because the figures at the beginning of the year doubled-counted government

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