The U.S. economy added 298,000 private, non-farm jobs in February, 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 14 percent increase from January's upwardly revised 261,000 jobs, and 16 percent higher than the previous February, when 255,000 jobs were created.
“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 in a press release. “Gains were driven by a surge in the goods sector, while we also saw the information industry experience a notable increase.”
Mid-sized businesses consisting of 50 to 499 employees saw the biggest employment gains in February, with 122,000 jobs added. Small firms saw a rebound following lackluster reports in December and January, adding 104,000 new positions. Within that figure, firms employing fewer than 20 individuals added 51,000 jobs, and firms consisting of 20-49 employees added 53,000 jobs. Only 4 percent (72,000) of payroll additions in February occurred at large businesses consisting of 500 to 1,000+ employees.
Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi echoed Yildirmaz's sentiment, attributing February's gains primarily to the construction, mining, and manufacturing industries in the goods-producing sector. In January, the sector saw the strongest job growth in two years, and these gains continued in February with the addition of 106,000 jobs.
Following a volatile pattern of growth and contraction over the past five months, the construction sector continued its rebound first seen last month, adding 66,000 new jobs in February. The goods-producing sector as a whole experienced one-month growth not seen since February 2006, adding 106,000 jobs in total, with 32,000 of those jobs added in manufacturing. The professional and business services sector—which includes architecture and engineering firms—continued its steady growth, creating 66,000 new payroll positions during the same period.
"Unseasonably mild winter weather undoubtedly played a role [in February's strong report]," Zandi said in the press release. "But near record high job openings and record low layoffs underpin the entire job market.”
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.