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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says 175,000 new jobs were added in February, well above Wall Street's consensus estimate of 149,000.
162,000 of those hires were to private payrolls, while government took on 13,000 new employees.
However, the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent, underlining the difficult task that the country faces in getting jobless Americans back to work.
The huge story, though, is that this stronger job growth (compared, at least, to December and January) came in spite of a mammoth 601,000 employed workers being out of work due to the weather. That number was far higher than the 273,000 out of work in December due to the weather, and the 262,000 in January. Had the number of people out of work in February due to the weather been comparable to the January and December ones, we would have seen job growth of closer to 500,000 this month!
This means that the Federal Reserve will not feel pressure to delay tapering its quantitative easing programs further. The economic recovery is starting to look stronger and more secure.