Private sector hiring surged in January, with employers adding 246,000 new jobs, significantly above the 170,000 economists were predicting.
It’s the strongest start to a new year in more than a decade and hints that the government’s more complete employment report due out Friday could show equally strong numbers.
The report from ADP and its partner Moody’s Analytics said the largest share of the new jobs was created by mid-sized businesses — those with 50-499 employees. Those businesses were credited with adding 102,000 new jobs.
Employers with more than 1,000 workers accounted for 63,000 new jobs.
In addition, all sectors of the economy added workers, including natural resources, which has been struggling with layoffs over the last year in the energy sector. Manufacturers added 15,000 workers.
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“The U.S. labor market is hitting on all cylinders and we saw small and midsized businesses perform exceptionally well,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Further analysis shows that services gains have rebounded from their tepid December pace, adding 201,000 jobs. The goods producers added 46,000 jobs, which is the strongest job growth that sector has seen in the last two years.”
In another indication of a strengthening employment outlook, The Conference Board reported today that online advertised vacancies increased 49,000 to 4,850,500 in January. It was the second consecutive month showing an increase in job postings and only the fourth month in the last year with an increase.
Looking ahead, economists polled by Marketwatch expect Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to show the economy added 190,000 private and government sector jobs in January. The unemployment rate is likely to be unchanged at 4.7%.