U.S. employers cut a smaller than expected 36,000 jobs in February, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 9.7 percent, according to a government report on Friday which said it was unclear how severe weather had impacted payrolls.
The Labor Department said job losses for December and January had been revised to show 35,000 fewer jobs lost than previously reported.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected non-farm payrolls to drop 50,000 last month and the unemployment rate to edge up to 9.8 percent. The median forecast from the 20 most accurate forecasters also saw payrolls falling by 50,000, while the 10 most accurate economists predicted a 70,000 decline.
Analysts had feared that the heavy snowstorms that hit large areas of the United States during the survey week for the employment report would cause a huge drop in payrolls.
However, the Labor Department said while the winter storms might have affected payrolls, it was difficult to quantify the net impact on employment.
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