March 8 (UPI) -- After a stellar report showing a large increase in U.S. jobs in January, the Labor Department's figures for February on Friday showed almost no change in the market.
The February jobs report showed just 20,000 additions after significant growth in January and December.
Friday's figures were well short of expectations. Analysts projected February growth of about 175,000 jobs.
Economists didn't expect February totals to keep pace with January, but didn't expect such a steep decline, either. The last time U.S. job growth was as stagnant was August 2017.
Some of the new jobs shown for January may have been temporary positions taken by furloughed federal workers, who were out of work during the 35-day government shutdown.
The highlight of Friday's report was the continuing decline of unemployment. The report showed unemployment fell by 300,000 workers (0.2 percent) in February to 3.8 percent. Some federal workers could've shown up among the ranks of the unemployed before they went back to work Jan. 25.