US job growth rose more than expected in February, easing fears of an abrupt slowdown in economic growth and keeping the Federal Reserve on track to continue reducing its monetary stimulus.
Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month after creating 129,000 new positions in January, the Labor Department said on Friday. Unemployment rate, however, rose to 6.7 per cent from a 5-year low of 6.6 per cent.
“This bodes well for the economy since there were massive headwinds against it and there had been some data before this indicating that it wouldn’t be so strong,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive at Sarhan Capital in New York.
US stock index futures rose on the data, while prices for US government debt fell. The dollar hit a six-week high against the yen.
Unseasonably cold and snowy winter weather has disrupted economic activity in much of the United States. With snow and ice covering densely populated areas during the week employers were surveyed for February payrolls, another month of sub-par job growth had been expected.
Economists had forecast nonfarm payrolls rising 149,000 and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 6.6 per cent. The harsh weather cut into the length of the average workweek in February, which hit its lowest level since January 2011.