Private-sector payrolls expand by more than 200,000

The government will release its monthly employment report for March with a broad range of results, expected between 175,000 and 290,000 — either way still at levels needed to gradually bring down the 8.9 percent jobless rate.

A separate report today showed fewer firings in March compared with the same month last year, even as government payroll cutbacks climbed to the highest level in a year. Those planned job cuts decreased 39 percent to 41,528 this month compared with March 2010, with public employees making up about half of those cuts, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a firm that tracks job trends. 

The service sector added 164,000 workers, marking 15 consecutive months of employment gains. 

Employment in the goods-producing sector rose 37,000, the fifth consecutive monthly gain, while manufacturing jobs also increased 37,000, the sixth consecutive monthly gain.

Large companies — those employing more than 499 workers — expanded their workforces by 17,000 jobs. Medium-sized businesses, with 50 to 499 employees, created 82,000 jobs, and small companies, those businesses with fewer than 50 workers, expanded payrolls by 102,000, ADP said.

In March, construction employment dropped 5,000. The total decline in construction employment since its peak in January 2007 is more than 2.12 million. 

Employment in the financial services sector increased 4,000 in March, ADP said.