Construction jobs soared by 61,000 in February, and the industry's unemployment rate improved year over year, but last month's rate did rise from January's level, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

The Associated Builders and Contractors said the monthly jobs gain was the industry's largest since March 2007.

The bureau's latest monthly employment report, released on March 9, showed that February gains in construction jobs came in all industry sectors. The pacesetter was specialty trade contractors, which added 37,600.

Buildings construction picked up 15,700, and the heavy-civil engineering segment's workforce expanded by 7,500.

Architectural and engineering services, a separate BLS category, posted an increase of 5,600 jobs last month. The jobs figures are preliminary.

Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors chief economist, noted that industry employment was up by 254,000, or 3.7%, for the 12 months ended in February—more than double the overall U.S. jobs increase of 1.6%.

Anirban Basu, ABC's chief economist, observed that construction's 61,000 jobs gain represented nearly 20% of the U.S. economy's total employment increase for February.

Construction's jobless rate for February dipped to 7.8% from the year-earlier 8.8%, but increased from January's 7.3%, BLS reported.

The bureau's unemployment rates aren't adjusted for seasonal variations.

The overall economy recorded large jobs gains in February, adding 313,000 positions. The national unemployment rate was 4.1%, the same as in January, but improved from February 2017's 4.7%.