Private employers added robust 298K jobs last month, survey shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses added the most jobs in three years last month, a private survey found, a sign that hiring may be accelerating from last year’s modest levels.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added 298,000 jobs in February, up from 261,000 the previous month. The gains were led by a huge 66,000 increase in construction, the most in 11 years, and 32,000 manufacturing jobs, the most in five years.

The hiring boom in construction was likely driven by unseasonably warm weather in much of the country. Construction sites typically shut down in snow or freezing weather. Still, job gains were broad-based and suggest that increased business optimism may have led to more hiring. January and February’s job gains are above last year’s average of about 185,000 per month.

“February proved to be an incredibly strong month for employment with increases we have not seen in years,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.

Measures of business confidence have jumped since the presidential election and the stock market has reached record highs in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s promised tax cuts and deregulation. Investors are also optimistic with more evidence emerging of economic growth overseas, including Europe.

The ADP covers only private businesses and often diverges from official figures. Economists forecast that the government’s jobs report, due Friday, will show an increase of 186,000, according to data provider FactSet.

In recent months, after a change in ADP’s methodology, its figures have gotten closer to the government’s reported data. It was off just 9,000 in January and 8,000 the previous month.

Some economists are revising higher their forecasts for Friday’s jobs report in the wake of the ADP figures. Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley, now expects job gains of 250,000, up from 200,000.

Other signs point toward a healthy job market, Wieseman noted in an email. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits, a proxy for layoffs, has fallen to a 44-year low. And surveys of manufacturing and services firms in the past two months show greater interest in hiring.

The government’s Friday report will be the final major economic data that Federal Reserve officials will see before their March 14-15 meeting, when they are widely expected to raise short-term interest rates for only the third time in nearly a decade.

A rate hike will be even more likely if the government’s data reflects strong hiring similar to the ADP report. Many economists say job gains would have to plummet to roughly 50,000 or less to give the Fed pause.

 
 
 
US

Court Ruling Deals Minor Blow to Trump on DACA, but Opens Door to Victory on Appeal

Court Ruling Deals Minor Blow to Trump on DACA, but Opens Door to Victory on Appeal
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that President Donald Trump does not have the power to legally end the Deferred Action ...
READ MORE >
 
US

Former US President George H.W. Bush out of Intensive Care

Former US President George H.W. Bush out of Intensive Care
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush has been moved from an intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital ...
READ MORE >
 
US

After Trump Tax Cuts, Economy to See Boost Not Seen in 15 Years: CBO Projection Data

After Trump Tax Cuts, Economy to See Boost Not Seen in 15 Years: CBO Projection Data
America's economy will get a boost of 3.3 percent this year, between the fourth quarter of 2017 and ...
READ MORE >
 
US

Comey’s Memo Leak Conduit Was a ‘Special Government Employee’ at FBI

Comey’s Memo Leak Conduit Was a ‘Special Government Employee’ at FBI
The "friend" whom Former FBI Director James Comey used in order to leak classified information to The New ...
READ MORE >