The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by 175,000 in February after an upwardly revised gain of 129,000 in January and the jobless rate increased from 6.6 percent to 6.7 percent as more workers entered the labor force but were not able to find jobs.
Including the modest gain of 84,000 in December, recent job creation marked the lowest three-month total since mid-2012 when the unemployment rate was over 8 percent.
The jobless rate rose for the first time since January of last year as the number of unemployed persons rose from 10.24 million to 10.46 million. The labor force increased by 264,000, however, those counted as employed rose by only 42,000 while those currently looking for jobs increased by a much larger 223,000. The labor force participation rates was unchanged at 63.0 percent, not far above the recent multi-decade lows.