The nation's job market emerged from the winter chill in February when the economy created a larger-than-expected 175,000 jobs, government data showed Friday.
The acceleration in jobs growth could put to rest some of the fears of a slowdown in the economic recovery.
The unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.7 percent, from a five-year low of 6.6 percent in January, when the economy created 129,000 jobs.
Economists had predicted non-farm payrolls to rise by 149,000 and the jobless rate to stay flat.
Employment growth had waned over the past two months, and February's number, while an improvement, remains below trend of where it had been for the past year, during which monthly job creation has averaged 189,000.
A separate measure of unemployment, which includes discouraged and underemployed workers, edged lower to 12.6 percent from 12.7 percent.
-- CNBC.com contributed to this report.
First published March 7 2014, 5:41 AM
Patrick J. Rizzo
Patrick Rizzo is the business editor for NBC News Digital. He started this role in November of 2008. Rizzo is responsible for NBC Newsâ€™ coverage of the economy and business.
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Rizzo joined NBCNews.com from The Associated Press, where he was economics editor. In that role, Rizzo was responsible for the APâ€™s coverage of the economy, particularly the dual U.S. housing and financial crisis and the Great Recession.
Prior to The AP, Rizzo was at Reuters, where he spent 18 years covering a wide range of general news and business stories.
Rizzo lives in New York City, with his wife Kathryn Lu and his two children, Dylan and Alessandra.