US private-sector job growth surged in December, topping November for the strongest pace of the year with a net new 238,000 jobs added, payrolls firm ADP said Wednesday.
The number came in well above the consensus estimate of 203,000, and suggested possibly strong job growth numbers to come in Friday’s December labor report.
ADP sharply revised its November number higher, to 229,000 net new jobs from the prior estimate of 215,000.
The job gains in December were broad-based across industries, ADP reported. Construction added 48,000 jobs, its best month since 2006.
Manufacturing gains remained strong but growth slowed a bit to 19,000.
“The job market ended 2013 on a high note. Job growth meaningfully accelerated and is now over 200,000 per month,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which helps compile the data.
“It appears that businesses are growing more confident and increasing their hiring.”
The upbeat ADP report came ahead of the Labor Department’s December jobs and unemployment data on Friday.
Analysts on average expect job growth in both the private and public sectors of 197,000 in December, down from 203,000 in November, and the unemployment rate to hold unchanged at 7.0 percent.
“While we’ve been thrown off, often, before by an overly exuberant (or under) ADP, the fact that the other surveys are suggesting that hiring is generally picking up points to upside risk to this Friday’s US payroll report,” Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a research note.
“So far, we’ve been above-consensus with our 204,000, but that’s probably changing as we speak.”