Manufacturing added 32,000 jobs, and several other industries saw gains of several thousand.
Though the markets have been more resilient to the prospects of higher rates now than they were a year ago, the chatter has put the brakes on a rally that took off on President Donald Trump's promise of tax reforms and infrastructure spending.
Companies added the most workers in nearly three years to US payrolls in February on a surge in construction and manufacturing employment, data from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey, showed Wednesday. The gain was well above economists' expectations for a 190,000 increase.
Nonfarm payrolls grew by 227,000 in January while the unemployment rate edged higher to 4.8 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The goods-producing sector added 106,000 jobs in February, while the service sector added 193,000.
For months the job market has been tightening, forcing employers to hang onto their workers and driving down jobless claims to their lowest level since the early 1970s.
Wall Street has ratcheted up expectations for how many new U.S.jobs were created in February after a glowing report from the nation's largest processor of worker paychecks.More news: Pakistan lodges protest for relocation of Indian flag over 'spying suspicions'
Oil could weigh on the markets, following a 1 percent drop in prices after a report showed a large rise in USA crude inventories.
Manufacturing jobs, a key focus for President Trump, jumped by almost 32,000 last month, the most in five years.
It was welcome news to social media, with one calling it a "Trump bump".
Has the minimum wage, which went up in many areas of the country on January 1, caused employers to avoid adding additional workers, particularly in leisure and hospitality, retail and food and drinking establishments (sectors defined by the Labor Department)? The jobs report for February, the first full month in Donald Trump's economy, will be picked apart by investors eager to discern the likelihood of an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve next week. Another 66,000 were added in the professional and business industries, and 40,000 in education and health sectors.
Appearing on CNBC, Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said confidence "is playing a large role".
The strong back-to-back gains suggest that hiring activity has ramped up.