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US companies are hiring the most workers in nearly 3 years

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 3/8/2017 Patricia Laya
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Companies added the most workers in almost three years to U.S. payrolls in February on a surge in construction and manufacturing employment, data from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey, showed Wednesday.

Key Points

--Private payrolls climbed by 298,000 (forecast was 187,000), the most since April 2014, after a revised 261,000 gain in January

--Goods-producing industries, which include manufacturers and builders, increased headcounts by 106,000, a record in data going back to 2002, after a 55,000 gain

--Service providers boosted payrolls by 193,000 after a 207,000 increase

Big Picture

The U.S. labor market is continuing its strong run as demand chugs along, potentially benefiting from increased optimism about the economic outlook under President Donald Trump. Claims for unemployment benefits are the lowest in almost 44 years, signaling employers are keeping firings at a minimum. The ADP figures provide some insight ahead of Friday’s release of the Labor Department’s monthly employment report, which is projected to show a 190,000 increase in private jobs.

An Economist's Takeaway

“Unseasonably mild winter weather undoubtedly played a role. But near-record-high job openings and record-low layoffs underpin the entire job market,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP.

The Details

--Hiring in construction was 66,000, the most in 11 years

--Factories added 32,000 workers, the most since March 2012

--Employment gained in service sectors tracked by ADP, including trade, transportation and utilities; education and health services; and professional and business services

--Companies employing 500 or more workers increased staffing by 72,000 jobs; payrolls rose by 122,000 at medium-sized businesses, or those with 50 to 499 employees, the most in three years; while small companies’ payrolls gained 104,000, an eight-month high

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