The White House welcomed an encouraging monthly jobs report on Friday but warned of a bumpy road ahead and called for further action to ignite job creation in the private sector.

Employers added 162,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, leaving the unemployment rate steady at 9.7 percent for the third straight month.

At the same time that we welcome today's encouraging labor market news, it is obvious that the American labor market remains severely distressed, said Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in a statement.

Further targeted actions to spur private sector job creation are critically needed to ensure a more rapid, widespread recovery, she said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Editing by Sandra Maler)