Roughly 25 per cent of the new jobs are temporary positions - part-time workers who will help the US government conduct its decennial census this year.

But the report still beat expectations as the economy created 231,000 private-sector jobs, when most economists had predicted a growth of just 162,000 new jobs last month.

This was the largest single-month gain since March 2006.

Unemployment surge

There was an apparent contradiction in the jobs numbers released. While the US economy created new jobs, the US unemployment rate also increased.

That is because more than 195,000 people "re-entered" the labour force: People who had previously given up looking for work started job-hunting again, and that pushed up the unemployment rate.

"Workers who had dropped out of the workforce entirely are now ... seeking jobs again, encouraged by better prospects," Obama said.

But Obama acknowledged that the US economy still has a long way to go before making up the losses of the last few years.

More than eight million Americans lost their jobs in 2008 and 2009.

Economists say the US economy would have to create more than 400,000 jobs per month in order to reduce the unemployment rate to 6 per cent by the end of 2013.