Utah's non-agricultural employers created 25,200 new jobs in the 12-month period ending Feb. 28, a 3.9 percent increase over a comparable period a year ago, according to the Utah Department of Employment Security's monthly labor market report.

Meanwhile, the nation's unemployment rate in February plunged to 5.1 percent, the lowest point in 15 years, as the nation's employers created 289,000 new jobs in a sign of the economy's continued strength, the government reported Friday.The national jobless rate was down 0.3 percentage points from December, hitting 5.1 percent for first time since May 1974, the Labor Department said. The rate last was lower in December 1973, when it hit 4.9 percent.

The latest figures provided fresh evidence that the economy continues to command strength in the seventh year of its record peacetime expansion despite widespread anticipation of an impending slowdown.

Utah's unemployment rate was 4 percent on Feb. 28, 1.3 percent lower than a year ago and down from 4.1 percent in January. It has been near 4 percent since October.

Between September 1988 and February 1989, the job-creation rate has been near 4 percent. "Thus, job growth, while no longer accelerating, has plateaued at a respectable, sustainable level," according to Ray Sargent, labor-market analyst.