U.S. businesses added a robust 230,000 jobs in September, the highest level since February and a sign that employers are hiring in the growing economy.
The latest jobs data was significantly better than the 168,000 jobs created in August, according to payroll processor ADP's national employment report released Wednesday.
“The job market continues to power forward. Employment gains are broad-based across industries and company sizes," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, whose firm oversees the numbers.
"At the current pace of job creation, unemployment will fall into the low 3 percent’s by this time next year," he said.
Mid-sized businesses led the way, adding 99,000 to their payrolls.
While hiring was strong across most sectors, the construction sector added 34,000 jobs last month, and professional business services, which includes jobs with higher salaries, hired 70,000 employees.
Education and health services added 44,000 jobs.
The government is set to release on Friday its monthly report on public and private employment with the forecast for 168,000 jobs with the unemployment rate dropping to 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent in August.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 140 points on the jobs data and a report that U.S. services firms expanded at the fastest pace since 2008.
The Institute for Supply Management reported that its services index hit 61.6 in September, up from 58.5 in August.