Payroll firm ADP and Moody’s Analytics reported Wednesday that private sector companies added 263,000 jobs in March, far above the consensus 185,000 figure expected by economists. The total represents an increase from 245,000 in February, and the highest number of jobs created in a month since December of 2014.
“Job growth is off to a strong start in 2017,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, in a statement. “The gains are broad-based but most notable in the goods-producing side of the economy, including construction, manufacturing and mining.”
Professional and business services created 57,000 jobs in March, followed by leisure and hospitality at 55,000 and healthcare at 46,000. Construction saw 49,000 new jobs; trade, transportation and utilities contributed 34,000; and manufacturing generated 30,000.
Companies with fewer than 50 employees added the most jobs, at 118,000, while those with 50 to 499 staffers added 100,000. Tracking data shows unemployment will likely remain at February’s rate of 4.7%, while wage increases are now averaging 2.5-3% growth year-over-year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its non-farm payrolls report for March on Friday, which includes both public and private sector jobs numbers.