January 14, 2015
By Paul Davidon
The labor market ended 2014 on a strong note, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday, as businesses added 241,000 jobs in December.
Economists expected ADP to report 225,000 new private sector jobs. They estimate the Labor Department’s closely watched survey this Friday will show 240,000 payroll gains by businesses, as well as federal, state and local governments.
Last month, small businesses added 106,000 jobs, mid-size ones, 70,000, and large companies, 66,000, ADP said.
Professional and business services led the employment gains with 69,000. Trade, transportation and utilities added 44,000 jobs; manufacturers, 26,,000; and construction, 23,000.
“The job market continues to power forward,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which helps ADP compiled the report.
Labor figures show that employers added 321,000 jobs– a nearly three-year high – in November and an average 241,000 a month through the first 11 months of the year, keeping the employment market on track to notch its best gains since 1999.
ADP’s report broadly reflects Labor’s market-moving survey but its initial estimate has varied by about 40,000 a month over the past two years. Its tallies in December have been less reliable – missing by 113,000 over the past five years–, likely because employers’ year-end tendency to purge payrolls of former workers affects ADP’s data more than Labor’s, High-Frequency Economics said in a research note.
Plunging gasoline prices have helped boost consumer confidence and spending recently, but recent reports showed manufacturing and service sector activity slowing last month.