Private employers added 47,000 more jobs than expected in January, ADP (ADP) announced Wednesday, for a monthly total of 187,000. That marks the fourth straight month of significant gains -- a trend that suggests the U.S. job market is recovering.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted private employers would add 140,000 jobs in January, after adding a revised 247,000 jobs in December, down 50,000 from the initially released figure of 297,000. Previous ADP reports showed that private employers added 92,000 jobs in November and 79,000 in October.
"This month's ADP National Employment Report suggests solid growth of private non-farm payroll employment heading into the new year," ADP said in a statement. "The recent pattern of rising employment gains since the middle of last year appears to be intact, as the average gain over December and January (217,000) is well above the average gain over the prior six months (52,000). Strength was evident within all major industries and across all size business tracked."
The gains were concentrated in small and midsize businesses and in the services sector. Small businesses added 97,000 jobs and midsize companies added 79,000. Large businesses added just 11,000.
Broken down by sectors, services had the majority of gains, adding 166,000 jobs for its 12th straight monthly increase. Goods producers added 21,000, manufacturing 19,000, and financial services 3,000. Construction lost 1,000 jobs.
Separately, private placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said planned layoff announcements by U.S. employers in January totaled 38,519, up 20% from December, but the figure was still the lowest for a January since at least 1993, CNNMoney.com reported Wednesday. In comparison, from 1993 to 2010, the average January job cut total has been 104,560.
January's ADP National Employment Report shows that employers are significantly more confident about adding employees now than they were this time last year. And even though ADP's private survey isn't as comprehensive as the Labor Department nonfarm jobs report -- which will be released Friday -- its findings bode well for at least a modest decline in the nation's 9.4% unemployment rate in the quarters ahead.