Private sector employers added 200,000 jobs last month, according to payroll giant ADP, although job losses continued in some sectors of the economy.
Small businesses with 49 or fewer employees added 86,000 jobs in March, up from February’s downwardly revised total of 68,000. The 86,000 jobs included 51,000 at small businesses with between one and 19 employees, and 35,000 at businesses with between 20 and 49 employees.
Midsize businesses with between 50 and 499 employees gained 75,000 jobs in March, an increase from 60,000 in February. Employment at large companies—those with 500 or more employees—declined to 39,000 in March, approximately half of February’s total of 77,000. Large businesses with between 500 and 999 employees added 20,000 jobs in March, up from 14,000 in February. Larger companies with more than 1,000 employees fell to 18,000 jobs added in March from 63,000 jobs added in February.
Service-providing employment rose by 191,000 jobs in March, down from 204,000 in February. Professional and business services, which includes accounting and tax preparation along with other types of services, added 28,000 jobs in March, down sharply from 51,000 in February. The combined trade, transportation and utilities sector added 42,000 jobs in March, well above the 24,000 jobs added in February. Financial activities added 14,000 jobs in March, which is in line with the average monthly increase in that sector over the past year. Franchise businesses added 22,000 jobs in March.
Goods-producing employment rose by 9,000 jobs in March, up from a downwardly revised 2,000 in February. The construction industry added 17,000 jobs, down from 24,000 in February. Meanwhile, manufacturing added 3,000 jobs in March after losing 9,000 in February.
“200K is roughly double the pace of increase in the working age population, so we are still rapidly absorbing any remaining slack in the job market,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which compiles the monthly National Employment Report with ADP, during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “The job growth is strong across almost every sector of the economy. The only exceptions I’m seeing, and it has been the case for over a year, is in the obviously very depressed energy sector. We’re still losing jobs there. Manufacturing is soft, particularly in the trade-sensitive parts of manufacturing, offset a little bit by strength in the vehicle-related sectors of manufacturing. But other than that, job growth is good. The job creation is broad based across pay scales. Lots of low-paying jobs in retailing and the hospitality industry, a lot of middle-paying jobs in the construction trades and we’re seeing a lot of high-paying jobs in professional services and financial services, so the job market feels like it’s on very solid ground.”
He is also seeing evidence of wage growth, which is consistent with a tightening labor market, along with plenty of open job positions and a pickup in the number of people quitting jobs. “That’s a good sign, because people don’t quit jobs unless they feel pretty good that they can find another one, so that’s indicative of a very healthy job market,” said Zandi.
He doesn’t believe there was any significant fallout from the turmoil in the financial markets at the beginning of the year and disagrees with recent forecasts of meager growth in gross domestic product.
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