The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, an improvement from January and ahead of economists' expectations.
Washington, DC, (CNN) - The job market picked up more than expected in February, led by strong hiring in professional and business services.
The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs last month, an improvement from January and ahead of economists' expectations. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7%, from 6.6% the prior month as more Americans joined the labor force. Both numbers were reported by the Department of Labor on Friday morning.
It's just a steady-as-she-goes recovery. Not fast enough, but not easy to derail," said Justin Wolfers, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution on Twitter.
Economists had been expecting a weaker jobs number due to colder than usual weather throughout much of the country in February. Ice and snow can postpone hiring if businesses close, or even cause a decline in outdoor jobs, like construction.
That didn't happen though. Instead, hiring picked up across many sectors. Construction added 15,000 jobs, restaurants and bars added 20,100 jobs and education and health services added 33,000 jobs.
By far, the strongest hiring came from professional and business services industries, which include accountants, architects and technology workers. This sector alone added 79,000 jobs last month.
Deloitte CFO Frank Friedman said his company is planning to hire around 19,000 workers this fiscal year, ranging from "a campus kid coming off an undergraduate degree, to a very experienced person that comes in as a partner."
"We are going to continue to hire," he said. "Our business continues to be good and we're optimistic."
That's not to say that weather didn't have any impact on the job market in February. About 6.9 million full-time workers said their hours were temporarily reduced due to "bad weather" -- the highest level since Jan 1996.
Plus, economists surveyed by CNNMoney before the report indicated that 193,000 jobs could have been added last month if it weren't for the bad weather.
Prior to December, the economy had been adding an average of 205,000 jobs each month. Economists are hoping job growth will return to that level in the spring