Companies in the U.S. ramped up hiring at the start of the year, taking on the most workers since May 2015 and indicating the labor market remains robust, a report on private payrolls showed Wednesday.
Employment at businesses increased by 291,000 in January after a revised 199,000 gain in the previous month, according to data from the ADP Research Institute.
The surge in hiring, which partly reflected the benefits of warmer weather, exceeded all economists’ forecasts in a Bloomberg survey that called for a 157,000 gain. The dollar strengthened and Treasury yields rose after the report.
- The larger-than-expected gain was broad-based and included the biggest advance in service industry payrolls since February 2016, including a record surge in hiring at leisure and hospitality companies in data back to 2002.
- The report is in line with last week’s statement from Federal Reserve policy makers following their meeting on interest rates. The Fed said that “job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months.”
- Economists monitor the ADP data for clues about the government’s job report. The Labor Department’s employment data due Friday is expected to show a 150,000 gain in private payrolls and an unemployment rate remaining at a 50-year-low of 3.5%.
- The government figures will also include annual revisions. In August, the Labor Department’s preliminary benchmark projections showed the number of workers added to payrolls will probably be revised down by 501,000 in the year through March 2019. ADP’s report follows a different methodology than the government’s, and the two do not directly correlate with each other.
- ADP report showed goods-producing payrolls rose 54,000 in January, while service-provider employment increased 237,000.
- Hiring in construction jumped 47,000, the most in a year, and manufacturing showed a 10,000 increase in January, which was the biggest gain in 11 months.
- Payrolls at small businesses increased by 94,000 last month, the most since July 2018; rose 128,000 at medium-sized companies and 69,000 at large firms.
- ADP’s payroll data represent about 411,000 firms employing nearly 24 million workers in the U.S.
“Mild winter weather provided a significant boost to the January employment gain,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the report jointly with ADP.
“The leisure and hospitality and construction industries in particular experienced an outsized increase in jobs. Abstracting from the vagaries of the data underlying job growth is close to 125,000 per month, which is consistent with low and stable unemployment.”
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