According to ADP and Moody’s Analytics, private companies added 200,000 new jobs in March. The services sector provided 191,000 of the total new jobs, a slight decrease from its 204,000 positions created in February. While that number was revised lower from initial expectations of 214,000 in February, job creation numbers in March accurately matched expectations for the month.
“The job market continues on its amazing streak,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, in an official statement on the report. “The March job gain of 200,000 is consistent with average monthly job growth of the past more than four years. All indications are that the job machine will remain in high gear.”
Leading the charge were those small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, which created 86,000 jobs in March, following 76,000 in February. Companies with under 500 employees contributed 75,000 jobs, up from 60,000 in February. However, those with more than 500 employees created 77,000 jobs in February and just 39,000 in March.
Meanwhile, trade, transportation and utilities contributed 42,000 jobs, significantly higher than the 24,000 it created in February, while professional and business services provided 28,000, and construction added 17,000, down from 24,000 in February. The financial sector added 14,000 jobs. While the manufacturing industry has shown contraction in recent months, it promisingly added 3,000 new jobs in March after losing 9,000 in February.
Growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 was revised up to 1.4% at an annual pace, but economists are still expecting lower numbers overall for the first quarter of 2016, down to about 2% growth.
ADP’s National Employment Report indicates that December’s payroll gains reached above 287,000, and then fell in January to below 193,000. They climbed to 205,000 in February and then fell slightly to 200,000 in March. Experts attribute the healthy numbers to solid consumer spending and a recovering housing market, which have recently supported steady job growth.