Wednesday, March 06 14:24:00
U.S. private employers added a larger-than-expected 198,000 jobs in February, bolstering hopes that hiring across the economy is improving, a report by a payrolls processor showed today.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 170,000 jobs. January's private payrolls were revised up to an increase of 215,000 from the previously reported 192,000.
The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
A solid gain in construction jobs underscored recent signs of improvement in the housing market. Home prices have been rising since last February and the sector last year contributed to overall U.S. growth for the first time since 2005.
"It feels like underlying job growth continues to improve, and at the current pace, this should be enough to start bringing down unemployment," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. The jobless rate is currently at 7.9 percent.
"In a really rip-roaring economy, we'd be creating closer to 300,000 jobs a month or a bit north of that. So we're not there yet, but we're moving in the right direction," he said.
Hiring ticked up despite worries about government belt-tightening and higher taxes, though Zandi said those factors could slow the pace of growth later this year.
"It implies that we do seem to be getting a little bit of a pick-up in the employment conditions, which is very surprising given the implementation of the higher payroll tax and the upward tick in gasoline prices," said Russel T. Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Services in Troy, Michigan. Reuters