WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs in February, beating analyst estimates, but the jobless rate rose slightly on account of more people entering the workforce.
Despite the better-than-expected job numbers, the latest figures are still down from last year's 190,000 average new monthly jobs. The 175,000 gain comes at the heels of last month's increase, 129,000, which was higher than previously estimated.
A Bloomberg survey of economists estimated a 149,000 increase in jobs for February. On the other hand, the unemployment rate inched up from 6.6 percent in January to 6.7 percent in February, as more people entered the workforce but could not find work.
The upbeat numbers will definitely be welcomed by investors and market-watchers, who have been weary of this harsh winter's impact on the economy. Weekly jobless claims released Thursday by the Labor Department were also encouraging.
[Department of Labor] [Bloomberg]