Still, February's job growth was the largest monthly increase since May, when the effects of the Obama administration's massive stimulus package were at their peak and the government was hiring thousands of temporary census workers.
Improved job growth is good news for President Obama, who said Friday that the nation needed to "keep building on that momentum." And the Obama administration used the news to warn against deep spending cuts being pushed by congressional Republicans.
Noting that there was still more economic work to be done, top White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee said the administration would seek to "find ways to reduce spending, but not at the expense of derailing progress in the job market."
Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, told lawmakers this week that there was "increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending may be taking hold."