March 9, 2007 -- Non-farm payrolls rose by 97,000 new jobs to 137.4 million in February with the national unemployment rate remaining steady at 4.5 percent, the Labor Department reported on Friday.

While employment grew in parts of the service sector -- including health care, professional and business services, and food services -- jobs in the construction industry declined sharply, the report said.

At the same, the average workweek for private non-farm payrolls fell by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours, while average hourly wages rose by 6 cents to $17.16, the report said.

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