Private-sector employers added 218,000 jobs in July

Private-sector employers added 218,000 jobs in July, the fourth straight month of gains eclipsing 200,000, according to the ADP National Employment Report released on Wednesday.

While the gains were strong, they fell below the 281,000 jobs created in June.

The report provides a signal that Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department will show another month of healthy gains.

"It feels to me like the job market is humming," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, whose group helps with the ADP report.

Zandi said employers have added about 1.5 million jobs so far this year and are on track to create about 3 million jobs for the year.

“That’s a pretty good year by any historical standard,” he said.

It is still expected to take until the end of 2016 — a presidential election year — to get back to full employment, which would be the first time since 2007.

The forecast for Friday’s report is that employers added 230,000 jobs in July, slower than the 288,000 in June.

If that prediction bears out, it would be the sixth straight month of jobs growth above the 200,000 threshold, representing the strongest performance since the late 1990s.

The unemployment rate could remain right around 6.1 percent.

Overall, the gains were broad-based across all sectors.

The ADP report showed the service sector continues to lead the way, adding 202,000 jobs in July, down from 238,000 in June.

Construction added 12,000 jobs, while the manufacturing sector tacked on 3,000, less than one-third the number of jobs added in June.

A separate Commerce Department report on Wednesday showed the economy grew at a healthy 4 percent annual pace in the April-June quarter.

The contraction during the first three months of the year was revised to 2.1 percent from 2.9. In addition, growth was faster in 2013, especially in the final six months of the year.

Zandi said the economic growth and jobs numbers are now more aligned.

"This feels a lot more consistent with the jobs numbers and more supportive of the idea that the economy is gaining traction," he said.