Private-sector employers added 214,000 jobs in February

Private-sector employers maintained strong jobs growth in February as the U.S. labor market shields itself from persistent global economic headwinds.

The economy added 214,000 jobs in February, up from January’s 193,000, a figure that was 12,000 lower than initially reported, according to the ADP National Employment Report released on Wednesday.

{mosads}“Despite the turmoil in the global financial markets, the American job machine remains in high gear,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which collaborates on the ADP report. 

“Energy and manufacturing remain blemishes on the job market, but other sectors continue to add strongly to payrolls,” he said. 

Zandi said that the U.S. economy is speeding toward full employment for the first time in a decade.

He expects that by mid-summer the unemployment rate will fall to 4.5 percent, about “as good as it gets.”

The private-sector averaged 231,000 jobs over the past three months. 

Manufacturing shed 9,000 jobs, the second largest drop in five years, last month as the sector’s struggles continue because of a strong dollar that is making U.S. exports more expensive overseas.

Zandi expects that Friday’s government payroll report will show an addition of about 220,000 jobs and the unemployment rate holding at 4.9 percent. 

Large companies — those with 500 or more employees — posted a big increase in jobs last month, adding 76,000 positions, up from 44,000 in January.

The service sector, which makes up the bulk of the nations’ workers, fueled the boost at large firms, with the addition of 208,000 jobs in February, up from 174,000 in January.

“Large businesses showed surprisingly strong job gains in February, despite the continuation of economic trends that negatively impact big companies like turmoil in international markets and a strengthening dollar,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute.

“The gains were mostly driven by the service sector which accounted for almost all the jobs added by large businesses.”

Businesses with 49 or fewer employees increased by 76,000 jobs in February, in line with January’s downwardly revised 75,000. 

The construction industry added 27,000 jobs, which was slightly above January’s 26,000.

Professional and business services firms added 59,000 jobs last month.

The 8,000 new jobs added in financial activities were the least in that sector since August 2015, the report showed.

Tags ADP National Employment Report Mark Zandi

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