Private companies in the U.S. added 209,000 workers in March, raising hopes that the employment market may be struggling a bit less.
It’s not an official government number – that comes out Friday and also includes public figures. But the ADP National Employment Report may lead analysts to issue more optimistic projections.
The growth, though, is slower than in the previous month. February saw 230,000 jobs added, compared with the 182,000 positions tacked on in January.
Still, March represents the 26th straight month of overall growth in private employment, according to the report.
As in past months, small businesses led the charge, growing their payrolls by 100,000 workers. Medium-size companies added 87,000 jobs, while large firms added 22,000.
Service providers enjoyed the largest boost in their ranks, increasing by 164,000 positions (though at a slower pace than February). Manufacturers – a major motivator of the recovery – added 23,000 jobs; the financial services sector added 8,000.
The Labor Department said that employers added 227,000 jobs in February, keeping the overall unemployment rate steady at 8.3%.
Despite the upbeat news, the markets remained unimpressed, or maybe just not impressed enough. Overriding concerns about the Federal Reserve’s stimulus intentions caused Wall Street to stumble Wednesday into its worst decline so far this year.