The U.S. economy added 263,000 private, non-farm jobs in March, according to the monthly employment report released this morning by payroll-management firm ADP and its partner Moody's Analytics. The seasonally adjusted result is a 7 percent increase from February's downwardly revised 245,000 jobs, and 13 percent higher than the previous March, when 232,000 jobs were created. Despite the month-over-month decrease from February's report, the March report marks the third month of strong growth in the labor market.

“The U.S. labor market finished the first quarter on a strong note,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute in a press release. “Consumer dependent industries including healthcare, leisure and hospitality, and trade had strong growth during the month.”

Small businesses consisting of one to 49 employees saw the biggest employment gains in March, with 118,000 jobs added. Within that figure, firms employing fewer than 20 individuals added 31,160 jobs, and firms consisting of 20 to 49 employees added 19,982 jobs. The March figure continues the rebound seen last month in small business employment, following lackluster reports in December and January. Mid-sized businesses consisting of 50 to 499 employees also made big gains in March, adding 100,000 jobs. Only 5 percent (45,000) of payroll additions in February occurred at large businesses consisting of 500 to 1,000-plus employees.

While March's gains are attributed primarily to the service-providing sector's addition of 181,000 jobs, Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi notes that the continued growth seen in construction, mining, and manufacturing industries in the goods-producing sector are most notable. In January, that sector saw the strongest job growth in two years, and the momentum has continued—albeit at a slower rate—the past two months.

The construction sector continues to rebound after adding 59,000 jobs in February, with an additional 49,000 jobs added in March. The goods-producing sector as a whole added 82,000 jobs, with 30,000 of those jobs in manufacturing. The professional and business services sector—which includes architecture and engineering firms—continued its steady growth in March, creating 57,000 new payroll positions.

“Job growth is off to a strong start in 2017," Zandi said in a press release. "The gains are broad based but most notable in the goods producing side of the economy including construction, manufacturing and mining.”

ADP's national employment report is often used to gauge the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, which will be released this Friday. For more information, read the full employment report from ADP.