NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- 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.
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.
The professional and business services industries, which include accountants, lawyers and architects for example, added 79,000 jobs last month.
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The number of adults “not in labor force” stood at 91,361,000 in February 2014 from 89,317,000 February 2013.
Employed adults stand at 145,266,000 for February 2014 up from 143,464,000 in 2013, an average net increase of 150,167 jobs per month while the population increased over 199,000 per month.
Total employment has increased to 145,266,000 the highest point since 2008 but well under the 2007 peak of 146,047,000 even though the population has increased by 15,218,000 during the same period.
2007 was also the peak for employment percentage of the population at 63.1% compared to 58.79% for February 2014.
Posted by Greg Palmer