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WASHINGTON (AP) - Economic prognosticators say the evidence suggests February was another strong hiring month and that other data point to an improving economic recovery.

The economic forecasting firm FactSet says economists its surveyed think the economy had a net gain of 210,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent. It would be the third straight month of job growth over 200,000.

If the unemployment rate were to fall for a sixth straight month, it would mark the first such streak since 1984. The government reports is due Friday.

One reason why unemployment has dropped since last year is that many out-of-work people have stopped looking for jobs. Only the jobless who are actively looking are counted as unemployed.

A sustained rise in the number of people looking for jobs would be a good sign, even if it pushed up the unemployment rate.

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