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U.S. jobs growth last month hit by weather: Fed's Plosser

Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser speaks at an Economics21 event in New York, March 25, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser speaks at an Economics21 event in New York, March 25, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

PARIS (Reuters) - Severe winter weather likely affected U.S. jobs growth in February, a top Federal Reserve official said on Monday, the latest U.S. central banker to suggest a bit of weakness in the labor market is only temporary.

In a speech at the Bank of France, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser pointed to U.S. payroll gains in December, January and February. "All three of these numbers most likely reflected in part the effect of the unusually severe winter weather," he said according to prepared remarks.

A government report on Friday showed U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs last month after creating 129,000 new positions in January. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent as Americans flooded into the labor market to search for work.

Plosser is a long-time critic of the Fed's aggressive bond-buying program, which is meant to spur hiring and economic growth, but which policymakers have trimmed in measured steps despite some weak growth in jobs, manufacturing and retail sales in the world's largest economy so far this year.

Aside from the reference to the jobs report, Plosser's speech was largely the same as a speech he gave in London on March 6.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Writing by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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