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News Wrap: February jobs report shows strongest U.S. hiring since 2016

In our news wrap Friday, the latest jobs report showed the strongest pace of hiring since 2016. The Labor Department said employers added a net 273,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate matched a 50-year low of 3.5 percent. Also, Democrats on the House Transportation Committee accused aviation giant Boeing of a “culture of concealment” they said contributed to two deadly jet crashes.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The latest U.S. jobs report showed the strongest pace of hiring since 2016. The Labor Department said, in February, U.S. employers added a net of 273,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.5 percent, matching a 50-year low. And job growth in December and January was revised upward by 85,000 positions.

    The report was completed before coronavirus effects spread in the U.S.

    Democrats on a U.S. congressional committee accused Boeing today of — quote — "a culture of concealment" involving issues with its 737 MAX passenger jetliner. The House Transportation Committee members said that the problem contributed to two deadly crashes that killed 346 people.

    The report also blamed poor oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration.

    In Afghanistan, at least 32 people were killed when two gunmen opened fire at a ceremony in Kabul. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility. Dozens of people were wounded and rushed into ambulances.

    From hospital beds, survivors described the chaos.

  • Esanullah (through translator):

    Suddenly, firing started. People around me got wounded. One of my friends was wounded as well. As I carried my friend, people started running. I fell down and they stepped over me. A lot of people were wounded and martyred.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The attack came just days after the Taliban signed a precursor to a peace deal. ISIS is not party to that agreement.

    A cease-fire took effect in Northwestern Syria today, stopping the fighting between Syrian and Turkish forces. Turkey had opposed a Syrian offensive in Idlib province that sent refugees flooding to the Turkish border. Today, people in makeshift camps said the halt to shelling and airstrikes will not let them return home. Previous cease-fires failed to hold.

    Back in this country, Ohio State University announced a settlement with some of the men who say that a team doctor sexually abused them. The late Dr. Richard Strauss allegedly groped and mistreated some 350 athletes over the course of several decades. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

    In the Democratic presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders went after the newly resurgent Joe Biden. In Phoenix, Arizona, Sanders criticized Biden's support as a senator for trade deals, for the Iraq War, and policies that opposed gay marriage and gay military service.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.:

    It's a very difficult moment. We all know that. And all I can tell you, whether it was Iraq, whether it was DOMA, whether it was don't ask, don't tell, those were difficult votes. I was there on the right side of history. And my friend Joe Biden wasn't.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Sanders also accused Biden of trying over the years to cut Social Security. Biden fired back on Twitter, saying: "Get real, Bernie. The only person who's going to cut Social Security if he's elected is Donald Trump."

    The U.S. Justice Department today rejected a federal judge's criticism of Attorney General William Barr. The judge yesterday accused Barr of making misleading statements about the special counsel's Russia report. A department spokeswoman disputed the criticism, and said Barr relied on Justice Department lawyers and others in making his judgments.

    President Trump got a firsthand look today at this week's tornado damage in Central Tennessee; 24 people were killed in the region on Tuesday night. In Putnam County, east of Nashville, the president toured wrecked neighborhoods. Later, he also met with displaced families.

    And on Wall Street, stocks fell hard again, on coronavirus fears, and then clawed back some of the losses. In the end, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 256 points to close at 25864. The Nasdaq fell 163 points, and the S&P 500 gave up 51.

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