February ‘incredibly strong’ for jobs
Businesses added 298,000 jobs, up from 261,000 in January, led by 66,000 in construction, survey finds.
U.S. businesses added the most jobs in three years last month, a private survey found, a sign that hiring may be accelerating from last year’s modest levels.
Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added 298,000 jobs in February, up from 261,000 the previous month.
The gains were led by a huge 66,000 increase in construction, the most in 11 years, and 32,000 manufacturing jobs, the most in five years.
The hiring boom in construction was likely driven by unseasonably warm weather in much of the country. Construction sites typically shut down in snow or freezing weather.
Still, job gains were broad-based and suggest that increased business optimism may have led to more hiring. January and February’s job gains are above last year’s average of about 185,000 per month.
“February proved to be an incredibly strong month for employment, with increases we have not seen in years,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.
Measures of business confidence have jumped since the presidential election, and the stock market has reached record highs in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s promised tax cuts and deregulation.
Investors are also optimistic, with more evidence emerging of economic growth overseas, including Europe.
The ADP covers only private businesses and often diverges