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Latest U.S. job report shows economy growing rapidly

Carla St.Louis | 3/13/2014, 9 a.m.

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs  last month, according to the latest jobs report report released last Friday.

Despite the cold weather, employers beefed up their staff, an encouraging sign to market analysts who feared the economy was weakening after last month’s report that showed disappointing job gains that fell below expectations.

On Wall Street Friday, stocks rose sharply following the job report. The S&P 500 index rose 3.22 points or 0.2 percent to 1,877.03.

The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent, but analysts credit the increase to more people seeking work but failed to immediately find jobs.

The report also said women made up the majority of new hires in February gaining 99,000 compared to 76,000 for men.  

Since the economic recession women gained 2.5 million jobs even as 2.1 million jobs were lost.

For the jobless, Senate majority leader Harry Reid started another push to restore extended unemployment benefits to some 2 million Americans, setting up a third battle with House Republicans since the benefits expired last December.

The bill seeks to retroactively restore the benefits for six months, providing temporarily relief for many Americans still searching for jobs as the country crawls out of the economic recession. Republicans argue the extended benefits keeps the unemployed from actively looking for work.

They also say Democrats should offset costs of the proposed bill with cuts from other federal programs.

The bill is the third attempt  in two months to restore extended unemployment benefits. The previous bill was one short of being passed in the Senate back in February.