The U.S. hiring boom continues.

The national economy added 313,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in February versus 200,000 new hires in January, while the jobless rate remained at 4.1 percent for the fifth straight month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Job growth occurred in construction, finance, manufacturing, mining, professional and business services and retail trade.

Black workers' unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in February, compared to 7.7 percent in January and 6.8 percent in December. The February unemployment rate for white workers was 3.7 percent and 3.8 percent for adult women, respectively. The jobless rate for Hispanics was 4.9 percent.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) remained at 1.4 million in February, accounting for 20.7 percent of the jobless compared with 21.5 percent in January and 22.9 percent in December. Long-term joblessness has been steadily declining: from 25.5 percent in September to 20.7 now.

BLS employment data of five consecutive months of 4.1 percent unemployment shows labor market strengthening, proof of a continued economic expansion underway since the Great Recession ended in June 2009. The average hourly earnings for all workers employed on private nonfarm payrolls inched up to $26.75 in Feb., a seven-cent bump from January, the BLS reports. Average hourly earnings have risen 68 cents, or 2.6 percent, over the past 12 months.

The employment-to-population ratio (the ratio of the labor force now employed to the total working-age population) rose by 0.3 percentage point to 60.4 percent in February, following four months of scant flux — 60.1 percent in January, December and November.

Small businesses of 1-49 employees added 68,000 jobs in February versus 58,000 jobs in January and 50,000 in December, according to the ADP National Employment Report. Firms of 50-499 workers increased payrolls by 97,000 jobs in February, compared to 91,000 hires in January and 99,000 in December. Large companies of 500 or more employees hired 70,000 workers in February versus 91,000 hires in January and 41,000 in December.

"The job market is red hot and threatens to overheat. With government spending increases and tax cuts, growth is set to accelerate," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, which co-produce the monthly report with ADP, in a statement.

By employment sector and industry, service jobs grew 198,000 in February versus 212,000 in January and 155,000 in December. Within that sector, the leading jobs creator was leisure and hospitality, adding 50,000 new hires in February.

Professional/business services added 46,000 new jobs in February, matching January's total of 46,000. The goods-producing sector hired 37,000 new workers in February compared with 22,000 in January and 36,000 in December.

"The labor market continues to experience uninterrupted growth," said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. "We see persistent gains across most industries with leisure and hospitality and retail leading the way as consumer spending kicked up. At this pace of job growth, employers will soon become hard-pressed to find qualified workers."

This trend could spur the Federal Reserve Bank to raise interest rates.

"Higher rates will discourage consumption and investment and in that way slow growth and job creation," according to Dean Baker, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

"The Fed is effectively acting to make sure that there are not 'too many' jobs in the economy. The concern is that a labor market too strong will lead to rising wages, which could mean higher inflation. They prevent inflation by keeping people out of work, thereby putting downward pressure on wages."