The ADP National Employment Report said the U.S. private sector added 271,000 jobs in December, far exceeding the 175,000 consensus forecast. Analysts had forecast the number between 160,000 to 180,000.
“We wrapped up 2018 with another month of significant growth in the labor market,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Although there were increases in most sectors, the busy holiday season greatly impacted both trade and leisure and hospitality. Small businesses also experienced their strongest month of job growth all year.”
Small businesses with 1 to 49 employees added 89,000 private sector jobs, while those with 50 to 499 employees added 129,000. Large businesses added 54,000, a good breakdown for wage growth for a seasonal month.
“Businesses continue to add aggressively to their payrolls despite the stock market slump and the trade war,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said. “Favorable December weather also helped lift the job market. At the current pace of job growth, low unemployment will get even lower.”
The services sector added 224,000 jobs for the month.
The goods-producing sector added 47,000 that included 12,000 in manufacturing and 37,000 in construction. Natural resources and mining lost 2,000.