Private employers added 217,000 jobs in February, beating analysts' expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a rise of 175,000 in February. The January figure was revised higher to 189,000 from 187,000.
The ADP Employer Services report, jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, comes ahead of the government's much more comprehensive labor market report on Friday, which includes both public and private sector employment.
That report is expected to show a rise in overall nonfarm payrolls of 185,000 last month and a rise of 190,000 in private payrolls.
Economists often refer to the ADP report to fine-tune their expectations for the payrolls numbers, though it is not always accurate in predicting the outcome. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr)