Companies in the U.S. added more workers in February than expected, underscoring continued strengthening in the labor market, according to data released March 7 from the ADP Research Institute.
Highlights of February ADP Employment
• Private payrolls increased by 235,000 (200,000 estimated) after an upwardly revised 244,000 increase in Jan.
• Payrolls in goods-producing industries, which include builders and manufacturers, rose 37,000.
• Service providers added 198,000 workers to payrolls.
The results show a continued trend of robust hiring as companies hunt for employees to fill empty spots. The gains point to sustained consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of the economy.
Every single sector except information gained jobs in the period.
The report is based on ADP’s payroll data, representing about 411,000 firms employing almost 24 million workers in the U.S.
The ADP reading compares with the median estimate of economists for 198,000 private-sector job gains in February, ahead of the Labor Department’s monthly figures due March 9. The unemployment rate probably fell to 4% from 4.1% in the prior month, according to analyst forecasts.
“The job market is red hot and threatens to overheat,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pa., said in the statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. “With government spending increases and tax cuts, growth is set to accelerate.”
• Construction payrolls increased 21,000.
• Professional and business services added 46,000 workers, and leisure and hospitality also took on 50,000 employees.
• Large firms, those employing 500 or more workers, increased staffing by 70,000 jobs; payrolls rose by 97,000 at medium-sized businesses, or those with 50 to 499 employees; and small companies added 68,000 jobs.