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News Wrap: February jobs report boasts most hires since July 2016

In our news wrap Friday, the Labor Department reported a net gain of 313,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent, as thousands started looking for work. Also, President Trump's newly announced tariffs on steel and aluminum drew sharp rebukes. The European Union demanded to know whether it would be exempt and China vowed to protect its own interests.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A banner jobs report showed that employers hired more workers last month than at any time since July of 2016. The U.S. Labor Department reports a net gain of 313,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent, as thousands more people started looking for work, but wage growth slowed a bit from January's pace, which eased inflation concerns.

    The jobs report went down well on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 440 points to close at 25335. The Nasdaq rose 132 points, and the S&P 500 added 47. For the week, the Dow and the S&P gained more than 3 percent. The Nasdaq rose 4 percent.

    President Trump's newly announced tariffs on most imported steel and aluminum drew sharp rebukes around the world today. The European Union demanded to be told if it will be exempt.

    And, in Beijing, the Chinese Commerce Ministry slammed the move, and vowed to protect China's interests.

  • Man:

    We think it's perfect trade protectionism in the name of national security. It is an infringement to the rules of the World Trade organization, and will definitely cause serious shocks to the normal order of international trade.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Several Republican senators also criticized the tariffs and called for hearings.

    In Syria, the Red Cross says that 13 aid trucks managed to get into rebel-held suburbs of Damascus today, despite shelling and airstrikes. Amateur video showed them returning to Eastern Ghouta to finish a delivery, after an initial attempt earlier this week. The trucks carried in food for some 12,000 people.

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is claiming a major advance against Kurdish fighters in Northern Syria. Turkey says the Kurds are terrorists. Erdogan claimed today that Turkish troops have encircled the city of Afrin and are closing in on the Kurds. Video showed militia fighters allied with the Turks driving inside the Afrin district.

    In Ankara, Erdogan warned again the offensive won't stop there.

  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

    Right now, the target is Afrin. And entry into the city is imminent. Tomorrow, we will be in Manbij. The next day, with God's help, we will succeed in clearing the east of Euphrates from the terrorists all the way to Iraqi border.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    If they do drive east, Turkish forces could come into conflict with U.S. troops that are deployed in the area.

    Back in this country, Florida's Governor Rick Scott signed a major school safety bill in response to last month's mass shooting in Parkland. The new law raises the legal age to purchase rifles, creates a program to arm some teachers, and includes rifles in a waiting period for buying guns.

    The Republican governor said that it strikes a balance.

  • Gov. Rick Scott:

    I know the debate on all these issues will continue, and that's healthy in our democracy. People are passionate in their beliefs, and they should be. But we shouldn't insult or disparage each other. We should work together to make our schools safe for our kids.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The National Rifle Association said tonight that it is suing the state of Florida.

    Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg appeared before a federal grand jury today in the special counsel's Russia investigation. He had initially said that he wouldn't testify. This morning, Nunberg arrived at the federal courthouse in Washington with his lawyer. He stayed into the afternoon.

    And an executive once reviled for hiking the price of an AIDS drug by 5000 percent now faces seven years in prison. Martin Shkreli was sentenced today in New York in an unrelated case. He had been found guilty of defrauding hedge fund investors. Shkreli cried in court and said that he was sorry.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": changes at the U.S. Forest Service after claims of sexual misconduct; Mark Shields and Kathleen Parker weigh in on the proposed meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Trump; the renowned director who brought us "Selma" and now "A Wrinkle in Time"; plus much more.

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