In line with ADP, personal payrolls rose by 184,000 in March, higher than anticipated

Private sector job growth grew in March at its fastest pace since July 2023, indicating continued momentum in the U.S. labor market, payroll company ADP reported on Wednesday.

Companies added 184,000 workers during the month, up from February's upwardly revised gain of 155,000, which was also in line with the Dow Jones estimate for March.

In addition to the sharp employment increase, ADP reported that wages for workers who kept their jobs rose 5.1% year over year, the same rate as February, after falling steadily well into 2023 were. Those who changed jobs saw increases of 10%%, also higher than in previous months.

“March was surprising not only because of the wage increases, but also because of the sectors that recorded them,” said ADP chief economist Nela Richardson. “Inflation has cooled, but our data shows wages are rising across both goods and services.”

Employment gains were fairly broad-based, led by the leisure and hospitality industry with 63,000 jobs. Other sectors that recorded significant increases included construction (33,000), trade, transport and utilities (29,000) and education and healthcare (17,000). Professional and business services saw a loss of 8,000.

Of these, 142,000 were in service-related industries, the rest in goods. ADP, whose survey is based on analysis of payroll data from more than 25 million workers, does not cover government agencies.

Most of the increase came from companies employing more than 50 workers, while small businesses contributed just 16,000 to the total. From a regional perspective, the South recorded the largest increases with 91,000 new workers.

The ADP estimate serves as a precursor to the Labor Department's nonfarm payroll survey scheduled to be released Friday, although the numbers often vary widely. The department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a job gain of 275,000 in February, 120,000 more than even the ADP's revised figure. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect growth of 200,000 in March.

Solid wage growth and improving inflation have allowed the Federal Reserve to be patient in easing monetary policy. Central bank officials expect to begin cutting interest rates later this year, but said in recent days that they had not yet seen enough evidence that inflation was on a sustained downward path to begin cutting rates .

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