Companies in U.S. added 250,000 jobs in December, ADP says

(Bloomberg) – Payrolls at U.S. companies increased in December by the most in nine months, consistent with further progress in the labor market, according to data released Thursday from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey.

Private payrolls rose by 250k (190k est.), exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey, after a revised 185k increase in Nov. Payrolls in goods-producing industries, which include builders and manufacturers, rose 28k; construction employment increased 16k Service providers added 222k to payrolls

Key takeaways

The increase in hiring remains consistent with a tight job market that has challenged companies’ ability to attract skilled and experienced workers. Steady employment growth also reflects more optimism among businesses that is starting to fuel capital investment and underscores an improving economy. The ADP figure compares with the Bloomberg survey median for a 185,000 advance in private payrolls when the government issues its jobs report on Friday.

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A separate report on Thursday showed initial unemployment claims unexpectedly rose by 3,000 to 250,000 in the week ended Dec. 30. Claims tend to be volatile around the holidays, and figures were estimated for a dozen states and territories, more than usual.

Economist’s view

“The job market ended the year strongly,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in the statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. “Robust Christmas sales prompted retailers and delivery services to add to their payrolls. The tight labor market will get even tighter, raising the specter that it will overheat.”

Other details

Manufacturing payrolls increased 9,000 Professional and business services added 72,000 workers, the most since May, while education and health services took on 50,000 employees Payrolls in trade, such as retailers, transportation and utilities increased 45,000 in December, the largest advance of the year Companies employing 500 or more workers increased staffing by 56,000 jobs; payrolls rose by 100,000 at medium-sized businesses, or those with 50 to 499 employees; and small companies added 94,000 jobs.