US private businesses added the most jobs in three years last month, a private survey found, a sign that hiring is picking up seven years after the recession ended.
Employers across the US and across a range of business sectors added 298,000 jobs in February - the largest number of new jobs added to the economy in three years, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday.
"It was a blowout number, close to 300K", said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, which compiles the monthly national employment with ADP.
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"But near record high job openings and record low layoffs underpin the entire job market", he said, noting strength in construction, mining and manufacturing.
USA companies added workers at a blistering pace in February, according to the ADP Employment Report.
In a separate report on Wednesday, the Labor Department said nonfarm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, rose at an annualized 1.3 percent rate in the final three months of 2016, as it had estimated last month. President Donald Trump has pledged to boost annual growth to 4 percent. "Businesses are anticipating a lot of good stuff - tax cuts, less regulation".
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The service-providing sector added 193,000 jobs in February. The blockbuster report also solidified market expectations for the Fed to hike interest rates next week. Health care added 38,000 new jobs and information-related services created 25,000 new positions.
As for the most closely watched headline number in the report, the jobless rate likely remained close to January's 4.8%. Zandi noted that an "unseasonably mild winter weather undoubtedly played a role".
Economists had expected employment to climb by about 190,000 jobs compared to the addition of 246,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month. As a candidate, however, Trump argued that the unemployment rate was under-estimating the true state of joblessness in the country-and therefore the potential for renewing American job growth. The economy has not achieved 3 percent annual growth since the 2007-2009 recession ended. Without a doubt, future jobs reports will come in with less eye-popping numbers.
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A new and more comprehensive report on employment is expected to be released by the federal government March 10.