The private sector added 214,000 jobs in February, according to payroll giant ADP, in another healthy sign for the economy.
Small businesses with 49 or fewer employees increased by 76,000 jobs in February, in line with January's downwardly revised figure of 75,000 in ADP's National Employment Report. Employment among midsize companies with between 50 and 499 employees increased by 62,000 jobs, down from January's downwardly revised 74,000. Employment at large companies—those with 500 or more employees—totaled 76,000, a big jump from 44,000 in January.
Businesses with between 500 and 999 employees added 14,000 jobs, while companies with 1,000 employees or more gained 62,000 jobs.
Service-providing employment rose by 208,000 jobs in February, up from a downwardly revised 174,000 in January. The professional and business services sector, which includes accounting, tax preparation and other services, contributed 59,000 jobs, up sharply from January's downwardly revised 38,000. The combined trade, transportation and utilities sector grew by 20,000 jobs, down from a downwardly revised 26,000 the previous month. The 8,000 new jobs added in financial activities were the least in that sector since August 2015. Franchise businesses added 18,500 jobs in February.
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 figure of 26,000. Meanwhile, manufacturing lost 9,000 jobs, the second largest drop in five years.
The 214,000 jobs added in February are consistent with the roughly 200,000 jobs that have been added each month for the past four years, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which compiles the monthly national employment report with ADP. “It’s double the pace of job growth necessary to absorb the growth in the working age population and labor force,” he said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “The remaining slack in the labor market is quickly evaporating and the labor market is tightening, as evidenced by the acceleration in wage growth.”
The job gains were broad based across most sectors and company sizes. The only blemishes in the labor market, Zandi noted, were in the energy sector, which is still suffering from the drop in oil prices, and manufacturing, which continues to shed jobs.