Private-sector employers added 212,000 jobs in February

Private-sector employers added 212,000 jobs in February
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Private-sector employers added 212,000 jobs in February, slightly below expectations but probably a temporary slowdown because of widespread severe winter weather.

Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Analytics, said despite the slower pace of growth, the underlying trend is for about 250,000 jobs a month, which keeps the economy on track for another 3 million jobs this year.


While jobs growth is strong, it has pulled back from rapid pace at the end of 2014, when the economy added more than 1 million jobs, Zandi said in a call to discuss the ADP National Employment Report released on Wednesday.

Overall, the economy is expected to return to full employment by mid-2016, he said.

"It takes a lot to derail the momentum that currently exists in the labor market," he said.

Job gains remain broad-based throughout the economy with businesses employing up to 50 people adding 94,000 jobs last month, according to ADP's report.

Zandi said there are other signs of the labor market's strength, including a significant jump in job openings — to 5 million — at the end of last year.

The Labor Department will release its monthly report, which covers government and private payrolls, on Friday. 

He also said that workers should expect to see bigger paychecks over the next few months. 

"We're on the edge of a meaningful acceleration of wage growth," he said. 

Zandi pointed to the recent decision by Wal-Mart to raise their base wages and install programs to better train their workers and provide a clearer path toward promotion as a positive sign.

The ADP data showed that the construction industry added 31,000 jobs, the same number as last month. Meanwhile, manufacturing added 3,000 jobs in February, well below January’s 15,000.