The U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in the month of February, reaching 24 months of consecutive job growth t according to Labor department figures released Friday.


The unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent.


Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs, but over half of the increase occurred in temporary services. Health care and social assistance employment rose by 61,000 and manufacturing rose by 31,000 in the month of February.


President Obama now heads into the election cycle touting half of his presidency marked by positive job growth, a far cry from when he first came into office.


President Obama reacted to the jobs report during a stop at a Rolls Royce manufacturing plant in Virginia where he unveiled a new manufacturing initiative and made his case as the one who can keep the economy going.


“The key now, our job now, is to keep this economic engine churning,” Obama said at the event. “We can’t go back to the same policies that got us into this mess.”


Friday’s numbers came in slightly higher than economists forecasted, but they did correctly predict the unemployment rare to remain the same.


Though the economy kept pace with last month,  many Americans remain in the same state they have been in for the last few months. The number of unemployed people remained unchanged in February at 12.8 million. The unemployment rate for all major ethnic and age groups also showed little or no change. Those employed for 27 weeks or more also remained unchanged at 5.4 million in February.


But the percentage of the labor force working rose in February, which signals that the unemployment rate remains steady because of an increase in the workforce. Discouraged workers, workers who have exited the labor force because they have given up hope to find a job, are heading back into the labor force.


Stocks finished in the black after the positive jobs news. The NASDAQ was up +17.92 points, the Dow Jones was up 14.08 points, and the S&P 500 +4.96 was up # points at the close of trading Friday.