US stock futures were little changed after the Labor Department revealed employers added more jobs than forecast but the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose.
The US non-farm payrolls report showed jobs increased by 175,000 in February, compared to 113,000 a month earlier, surprising analysts who had predicted 150,000.
The jobless rate increased to 6.7% from 6.6%. Economists had thought it would remain unchanged.
The latest labour market figures follow Thursday's initial jobless claims report, which revealed that 323,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the week to February 28th, compared to 349,000 a week earlier. Analysts had expected 336,000 claims.
On Wednesday, ADP said the private sector added 139,000 jobs in February, falling short of economists' estimates for a gain of 160,000 jobs. January's number was revised downward by 48,000 to 127,000 jobs.
The Federal Reserve is monitoring the labour market as it prepares for its next policy meeting on March 18th and 19th.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has indicated that the central bank is likely to continue reducing monthly asset purchases at each meeting until ending it all together later this year.
Meanwhile, another report today from the Commerce Department showed the US trade deficit widened slightly in January to $39.1bn from December's revised $39bn deficit.
Exports climbed 0.6% to $192.8bn, led by increased sales of US-made machinery, aircraft and medical equipment. Imports also rose 0.6%to $231.6bn, driven by petroleum.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has snubbed a warning from US President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention in Crimea.
Following a telephone conversation with Obama, Putin released a statement today saying that Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine.
Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said the government is ready to talk to Russia, but only if Moscow pulls troop out of Crimea.
Crimea has voted to join Russia and a referendum will be held in nine days, which Obama and Western leaders said would violate Ukraine's constitution.
Gap, H&R Block
Gap declined as the US retailer said sales at stores open at least a year fell 7% in February.
H&R Block slipped as the tax-preparation company reported a third-quarter loss above what analysts had forecast.
GT Advanced Technologies gained after Credit Suisse upgraded the shares
to 'outperform' from 'neutral'.
Safeway Inc. dropped as Cerberus Capital Management LP's Albertsons agreed to buy the grocery-store operator for about $40 a share in a deal that may face federal antitrust review.