Payroll provider ADP said on Wednesday that businesses added a better-than-expected 198,000 jobs in February, adding to the evidence from the upbeat ISM surveys that the labor market remained resilient despite the ongoing fiscal uncertainty and the payroll tax hike.
Economists polled by Reuters were looking for a gain of 169,000 jobs gains for last month.
“After a worrying slowdown in the middle of last year, labor market conditions have improved markedly,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, in a note to clients.
The ADP jobs report will be closely read as a possible preview of the Labor Department's employment survey due this Friday. While the ADP survey captures the broader trends in the job market, it is not a great leading indicator of the official payrolls figures.
The BLS’ report is likely to show that employers added 160,000 jobs to their payrolls in February, which would leave employment growing at much the same pace as in recent months. Over the past six months employment growth averaged 177,000 per month. The unemployment rate will likely remain stuck at 7.9 percent.
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