Good news: Unemployment at lowest in 7 years

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The winter weather didn’t cool the job market in February.

The U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February, which crushed expectations. That beat the estimate from CNNMoney’s survey of economists, who predicted 235,000 jobs.

February’s job gains shows how far the economy has come in a year. It’s the 12th straight month that the economy has gained over 200,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.5%.

That’s the lowest unemployment rate since May 2008 — before the financial crisis. Unemployment has come a long way from a year ago when it was 6.7%.

As more Americans return to work, the question now is when will wages pick up. Average weekly wages only rose 2.0% in February compared to a year ago. In a healthy economy, wages gains are between 3.5% and 4%. The snail-pace wage gains contribute to a collage of reasons many folks still aren’t feeling off better during this recovery.