U.S. Companies Added 183,000 Workers in February, ADP Says

(Bloomberg) -- Companies added fewer workers to U.S. payrolls in February after a burst of hiring in the prior month that was stronger than previously reported, signaling that the labor market continues to underpin what may become the longest economic expansion on record this year.

Private payrolls increased by 183,000 after an upwardly revised 300,000 gain in January that was the most in more than three years, according to data released Wednesday by the ADP Research Institute. The February tally was just shy of the 190,000 median of estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

U.S. Companies Added 183,000 Workers in February, ADP Says

Key Insights

  • The rise was broad based, with gains from construction to professional and business services. Labor market demand remains solid, with employers reluctant to dismiss workers, despite the uncertainty surrounding continuing trade talks with China.
  • Despite the slower pace of hiring in February, the ADP figures are a healthy sign ahead of the Labor Department’s February employment report due Friday, which analysts project will show nonfarm payroll gains eased to about 180,000 while the jobless rate fell to 3.9 percent.
  • January’s job growth, originally reported at 213,000, was revised up by 87,000.

Economist’s View

“The economy has throttled back and so too has job growth,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. “Job gains are still strong, but they have likely seen their high watermark for this expansion.”

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  • Employment with service providers grew by 139,000, with professional and business services contributing 49,000 of those jobs and education and health services rose by 37,000. Financial hiring jumped to 21,000, the most since 2005, while the 14,000 gain in trade, transportation and utilities was the least since October 2017.
  • Goods-producing jobs rose by 44,000, led by a 25,000 increase in construction. Manufacturing and natural resources and mining also rounded out the gain.
  • Companies employing 500 or more workers increased staffing by 77,000 jobs; payrolls climbed by 95,000 at medium-sized businesses, or those with 50 to 499 employees; and small companies’ payrolls saw a more modest gain of 12,000.
  • ADP’s payroll data represents about 411,000 firms employing almost 24 million workers in the U.S.

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