The February jobs report beat expectations, boosting markets and confirming that the US economy remains strong.
Clothing and general merchandise retailers hired less than they were expected to before the holidays but afterwards laid off fewer workers than expected, resulting in apparent gains for the sector after seasonal adjustment, the report said.
A bumper jobs report sent USA stock markets up and eased investors' fears that rising wages would force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates higher than hoped.
Wages grew modestly by 0.1 percent, according to the Labor Department figures.
About 6.7 million people remained unemployed. It held at 4.1% in February, its lowest level since December 2000, for the fifth straight month. Hispanic unemployment was 4.9 percent.
Fed policymakers, who are now considering the jobs market to be near or a little beyond full employment, are widely expected to raise the benchmark interest rate when they meet later this month under the new chairman Jerome Powell. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have risen by 68 cents, or 2.6%.
Wage growth was a disappointment, however, with wages rising 0.1% over the prior month and 2.6% over a year ago. That's a considerable increase from January's revised total of 239,000. For slower home price growth, more home construction is needed. The measure includes part-time workers who'd prefer a full-time position and people who want a job but aren't actively looking. But if wages and inflation were to shoot up sharply, Fed officials might be compelled to raise short-term interest rates more aggressively than planned to prevent the economy from overheating. A majority of economists - 42% - surveyed by Bankrate.com are expecting four or more rate hikes this year; 37% are projecting three increases.
Dunn also noted that there are other things that can affect the timing of the jobs report, such as federal holidays like Christmas and the 4th of July.
The jobs numbers come on the heels of a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP, which revealed that private employers added 235,000 jobs in February, up just slightly from 234,000 in January.
Labor Force: Ticked up to 63%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 100 points, above 25000, after the report.
The two rates are faster than the overall job growth rates seen since the last recession, bouncing around 1.0% to 2.0%.
Statewide, unemployment for the same period was at 4.6 percent. But over the past year, the number of "discouraged workers" - those who want to work but have stopped looking for a job because they don't believe they will find one - has fallen almost 30 percent, to 373,000.
People working part-time for economic reasons rose by 171,000 to 5.16 million.
Employment gains were led by the construction sector, which added 61,000 jobs, the most since March 2007. Hiring picked up at retailers, manufacturers and local governments, including schools. January saw 200,000 workers added to USA firms, paired with earnings' growth of 2.9 percent, appreciably above the 2.5 percent seen over the course of 2017.
The pace of hiring has picked up recently.
The 200,000 payroll increase in January was well in excess of the preceding six-month as well as the entire 2017 average.