U.S. stocks rose on Friday as data showed U.S. employers cut a smaller number of jobs than expected last month, signaling a continued recovery in the economy.

February's non-farm employment numbers showed a cut of 36,000 jobs for February against expectations in a Reuters survey for a loss of 50,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7 percent, although the impact of inclement weather on the figures was unclear.

Analysts were concerned the severe weather that affected large swaths of the country would cause a large drop in payrolls.

It's really seems like it's off to the races here, said Terry Morris, senior vice president and senior equity manager for National Penn Investors Trust Company in Reading, Pennsylvania.

It's an indication the market believes we are in a recovery and it's going to continue.

Diversified manufacturer 3M Co gained 0.9 percent to $81.73 after the jobs data showed the manufacturing sector added 1,000 jobs in February.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 63.64 points, or 0.61 percent, to 10,507.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 7.51 points, or 0.67 percent, to 1,130.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 16.81 points, or 0.73 percent, to 2,309.12.

The Nasdaq was boosted by a 3 percent gain in Apple Inc after it said the first iPad computers will be in U.S. stores in early April.

For the week, the S&P is up 2.5 percent, the Dow up 1.9 percent and the Nasdaq up 3.4 percent.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)