Private sector job creation stays in "high gear"

The U.S. labor market remains firm, with new data illustrating steady hiring -- which bodes well ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report from the Labor Department.

The private sector added 214,000 jobs last month, a higher-than-expected number and representing a pickup in the labor market from January's revised increase of 193,000, according to the ADP Research Institute.

The greatest gains came in the service sector, which added 208,000 jobs in February, up from a downwardly revised 174,000 the prior month. The construction industry added 27,000 jobs, slightly above January's upwardly revised 26,000, while manufacturing lost 9,000 jobs, the second-largest drop in five years. The 8,000 new jobs added in the financial sector were the least in that category since August 2015.

"Despite the turmoil in the global financial markets, the American job machine remains in high gear, Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, noted in a statement. "Energy and manufacturing remain blemishes on the job market, but other sectors continue to add strongly to payrolls. Full-employment is fast approaching."

The government last month reported payrolls expanded by just 151,000 jobs in January. That was the smallest gain in four months and below expectations, but offset by rising wages a jobless rate at an eight-year low.