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US jobless rate falls to 7.7%

The US jobs market brightened better than expected in February, with the unemployment rate falling and solid job growth, official data released Friday showed.

The jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent, from 7.9 percent in January, and the US gained a net 236,000 jobs, the Labor Department said.

The numbers were much better than analysts expected. The average estimate was for the jobless rate to remain stuck at 7.9 percent for the second month in a row and additional jobs to total only 165,000.

The last time the jobless rate was as low as 7.7 percent was in December 2008.