Companies added more workers than projected in February, indicating the U.S. job market will keep expanding this year, according to a private report based on payrolls.
The 198,000 increase in employment followed a revised 215,000 gain the prior month that was more than initially estimated, figures from the Roseland, New Jersey-based ADP Research Institute showed today. The median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an advance of 170,000.
Sustained hiring by businesses, even as lawmakers in Washington were sparring over budget reductions, signals there is enough demand to support consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy. A Labor Department report this week may show private payrolls rose by 167,000 last month, according to the Bloomberg survey median.
“The job market remains sturdy in the face of significant fiscal headwinds,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc., said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. “Businesses are adding to payrolls more strongly at the start of 2013 with gains across all industries and business sizes. Tax increases and government spending cuts don’t appear to be affecting the job market.”
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from gains of 125,000 to 210,000. The prior month’s figure was revised from a previously reported increase of 192,000.
Goods-producing industries, which include manufacturers and construction companies, increased headcount by 34,000. Employment in construction rose by 21,000, while factories added 9,000 jobs.
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