US job growth accelerated in February, weather hits unemployment rate

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US job growth accelerated in February, weather hits unemployment rate

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US job growth rose more than expected in February despite extreme winter weather disrupting economic activity.

American employers added 175,000 workers to their payrolls, easing fears of an abrupt slowdown in economic growth there. That was up from January’s 129,000 new positions.

The unemployment rate did rise slightly, from 6.6 percent to 6.7 percent of the workforce, though that was blamed on people not going to work in the cold and snowy weather.

The survey of households from which the jobless rate is derived showed 601,000 people with jobs stayed at home because of the weather. The was the highest reading for the month of February since 2010.

Snow and ice also covered densely populated areas during the week employers were surveyed for the February calculations.

More Fed stimulus cuts likely

Federal Reserve officials, including Chair Janet Yellen, have said they believe the recent weakness in job creation is largely weather-related and temporary.

Most economists expect Fed policymakers to announce further cuts in their stimulus programme when they meet later this month.

One day before the jobs data were released, New York Fed President William Dudley reiterated that the economic outlook would have to change significantly for the US central bank to wind down its monthly bond purchases in a series of measured steps this year.

Gains across the board

Job gains last month were broad-based, with private sector payrolls rising 162,000 and government adding 13,000 jobs.

Manufacturing saw a seventh straight month of gains in employment. It added 6,000 jobs, the same as in January.

Construction payrolls, which surprised in January by logging hefty gains, increased 15,000 last month.