Payroll firm Automatic Data Processing said the U.S. economy added 198,000 non-farm private sector jobs in February, beating expectations by 28,000.
Economists had expected 170,000 jobs would be added to the private sector in the month. In addition, the firm revised its December increase from 192,000 to 215,000, a gain of 23,000.
From November through February, the private sector has added 898,000 jobs, an average of 224,500 per month.
ADP said firms with under 50 employees in February added 77,000 jobs, while medium sized firms added 65,000.
Firms with 500 to 999 employees added 57,000 jobs in February, a jump of 50,000 above January's gain for large firms.
Most of the jobs gained were in the service sector, said ADP President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Rodriguez.
ADP said the construction sector added 21,000 jobs in the month. Manufacturing firms added 9,000. Trade, transportation and utilities as a group added 45,000 jobs, while financial services added another 7,000 and professional business services jobs increased by 35,000.
In a separate breakdown, goods producing jobs rose by 34,000, most of that coming from the construction industry. Service oriented jobs increased by 164,000.
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