The U.S. economy added 200,000 private non-farm jobs in March, according to a monthly employment report released today by payroll-processing company ADP and its partner Moody’s Analytics. Of those gains, 43 percent came from business with fewer than 50 employees. The seasonally adjusted monthly figure is on par with February’s downward-revised 205,000 payroll additions, matching job-growth trends over the past four years and reflecting a tightening in the labor market with steady increases across regions and sectors, said Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi in a conference call this morning.
“This economy is in good shape, producing a lot of jobs and, at least so far, [is experiencing] no significant fallout from the turmoil in the financial markets at the start of the year,” Zandi said.
Construction employment, while strong month to month, added 17,000 jobs in March compared to the downward-revised addition of 24,000 payroll positions in February. The manufacturing sector rebounded from a contraction in February with 3,000 payroll gains in March, bolstered again by strength in vehicle production. And the professional and business services category, which includes architecture and engineering firms, added 28,000 jobs in March, a slight dip at the end of a strong first quarter.
Economists use the ADP index to gauge their projections for the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, which will release its payroll numbers for March on Friday. Zandi predicted the report to yield the addition of 210,000 jobs—taking today’s ADP figure and adding a projected 10,000 to represent the government positions that are included in the BLS report but not in the ADP index. Additionally, he said, a "booming labor market" with record-high job openings and continued wage growth could cause the unemployment rate, which the BLS reported at 4.9 percent in February, to tick down slightly. "We are still rapidly absorbing any remaining slack in the labor market," he said.
The BLS report will provide more details about job growth in the architecture, engineering, and construction market.