Employment in the private sector jumped again in February, mainly led by the service industry as recent weakness in manufacturing meant fewer jobs in that sector.
According to payroll processor ADP, 214,000 jobs were added last month, while the January total was revised downward from 205,000 to 193,000 job gains.
Goods-producing employment rose by 5,000 jobs in February, just over a quarter of January’s upwardly revised 19,000. The construction industry added 27,000 jobs, which was slightly above January’s upwardly revised 26,000. Meanwhile, manufacturing lost 9,000 jobs, the second largest drop in five years, as the sector continues to be plagued by a slowdown.
"Large businesses showed surprisingly strong job gains in February, despite the continuation of economic trends that negatively impact big companies like turmoil in international markets and a strengthening dollar,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute. “The gains were mostly driven by the service sector which accounted for almost all the jobs added by large businesses.”
Service-providing employment rose by 208,000 jobs in February, up from a downwardly revised 174,000 in January, including 20,000 jobs last month in the trade, transportation and utilities category.
“Despite the turmoil in the global financial markets, the American job machine remains in high gear,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. Energy and manufacturing remain blemishes on the job market, but other sectors continue to add strongly to payrolls. Full-employment is fast approaching.”
February’s job gains were nearly evenly distributed between small, medium and large size companies while it was only the fifth time since February 2014, that overall job additions have been above the 200,000 mark.
The report comes in advance of federal employment/unemployment numbers for February, scheduled for release on Friday.
January numbers from the Labor Department show U.S. non-farm payrolls increased by 151,000 while the unemployment rate fell to 4.9%, the first time its been below the 5% mark since February 2009.
Despite these improvements, the Wall Street Journal reported in late February, the unemployment rate in more than two-thirds of states last year were above pre-recession levels, despite jobless rates falling in most all states in 2015 from the year before.