Construction Gains Help Lift Private Sector Employment

January 30, 2013 9:44 AM EST
With Friday's critical non-farm payroll report just days away, investors are optimistic following a larger than expected increase in private sector employment. Always important, jobs data is especially critical in determining Fed monetary policy.

The report today by ADP showed private sector employment increased by 192,000 jobs from December to January. This was ahead of economist expectations for an increase of 165,000 jobs. The report noted strength in construction, which helped offset a decline in manufacturing.

Construction added 15,000 jobs, the manufacturing sector lost 3,000, and trade/transportation/utilities grew by 33,000. Financial activities added 12,000 new hires, and overall professional/business services grew by 40,000.

"This is an encouraging sign of steady improvement in the job market," said Carlos A. Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP.

While clearly a positive, Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, warned not to read too much into the better than expected gain in private sector employment.

"The recent gains may be overstating any improvement, particularly in the context of recent revivals in growth at the start of the past three years, but the gains are encouraging nonetheless."

Government data on Friday is expected to show jobs gains of 161,000.

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