The U.S. private sector added 214,000 jobs in February, payroll processor ADP and Moody’s Analytics reported Wednesday. The figure topped the prior month’s employment growth of 193,000 and beat investor expectations of 190,000 new jobs.
The service sector carried the vast majority of the growth, adding 208,000 jobs, compared with 5,000 for goods-producing employers.
“Despite the turmoil in the global financial markets, the American job machine remains in high gear,” Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said. “Energy and manufacturing remain blemishes on the job market, but other sectors continue to add strongly to payrolls. Full employment is fast approaching.”
The professional and business services sector added 59,000 jobs, construction added 27,000, the trade, transportation and utilities sector added 20,000, and the financial services sector added 8,000, while manufacturing shed 9,000 jobs, the report found.
On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly jobs data for February. Unlike ADP, it also includes the public sector. Economists are expecting another solid month of employment growth, with modest improvements from the 151,000 jobs added in January.
In January, the official unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent — the first time it has fallen below 5 percent since 2008. Average hourly earnings have also modestly inched forward, rising 2.5 percent over the past year.