You're hired: job growth picks up at private businesses

Private employers are hiring. 

U.S. private employers added 263,000 jobs in March, more than the number they hired in February and well above economists’ expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday. 

Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 187,000 jobs, with estimates ranging from 110,000 to 225,000. Private payroll gains in the month earlier were revised down to 245,000 from the originally reported 298,000. The report is jointly developed with Moody’s Analytics. 

The stronger-than-expected job growth comes after the jobless rate edged up to 4.8 percent in January, the first partial month of Donald Trump’s presidency. A healthy trend pushed the unemployment rate slightly higher, as more Americans started looking for work in January. The percentage of adults working or looking for jobs climbed to its highest level since September.    

“The ADP survey is clearly another indication that, despite the apparent slowdown in GDP growth in the first quarter, labor market conditions have remained unusually strong,” wrote Andrew Hunter, an economist at Capital Economics, in a research note on Wednesday. 

In a statement, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said the gains were “broad based but most notable in the goods producing side of the economy including construction, manufacturing and mining.”

The ADP figures come ahead of the U.S. Labor Department’s more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday, which includes both public and private-sector employment. 

Economists polled by Reuters are looking for U.S. private payroll employment to have grown by 175,000 jobs in March, down from 227,000 the month before. 

Total non-farm employment is expected to have risen by 180,000. The unemployment rate is forecast to stay steady at the 4.7 percent recorded a month earlier.