Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 311,000 in February as the unemployment rate rose to 3.6%.
Consensus among economists was a gain of 205,000 jobs.
In February, the unemployed population rose to 5.9 million but there were 10.8 million job openings in January.
Leisure and hospitality added 105,000 jobs in February, employment in retail trade rose by 50,000, government rose by 46,000, employment in professional and business services rose 45,000, health care added 44,000 jobs, and construction added 24,000 jobs.
In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by $0.08 to $33.09.
The average workweek for all private employees fell by 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours.
The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.5% and is 0.8% below its February 2020 level.