U.S. unemployment dips to 7.7 percent

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The U.S. economy created jobs at a faster pace than expected in February, with 236,000 new positions, the Labor Department said in a new monthly report, released Friday. The new unemployment rate of 7.7 percent is down from 7.9 percent in January and marks a four-year low.

After peaking at 10 percent in October 2009, the unemployment rate fell steadily for three years but has been stuck at just below 8 percent since last September, the New York Times reports.

One other bit of good news: Private-sector pay increased 0.6 percent as people both worked more hours and at a higher hourly wage, the Washington Post reported.

Minnesota's unemployment rate for February is not yet available. The state's rate in January was 5.6 percent.

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