Job Market Thaws a Bit in February

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.

-- contributed to this report.

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