WASHINGTON, USA - The US jobs market brightened better than expected in February, with the unemployment rate falling and solid job growth, official data released on Friday, March 8, showed.

The jobless rate fell to 7.7%, from 7.9% 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.