Companies hired 205,000 workers in January as the labor market continued to power past a growth slowdown and financial-market volatility.
The increase in private employment last month followed a revised 267,000 gain in December that was more than previously reported, according to figures released Wednesday from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a January advance of 195,000.
Sustained hiring is a sign companies are optimistic that demand will improve after a fourth-quarter growth slowdown. Further gains in employment would provide a stronger base for a pickup in wage gains, which remain a much-awaited component of the labor market recovery.
“Job growth remains strong despite the turmoil in the global economy and financial markets,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. “Manufacturers and energy companies are reducing payrolls, but job gains across all other industries remain robust.”
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 160,000 to 295,000. The prior month’s figure was previously reported as an advance of 257,000.
Goods-producing industries, which include manufacturers and builders, increased headcounts by 13,000 in January, the ADP report showed. Hiring at factories was unchanged, while construction companies added 21,000 jobs.
Payrolls at service providers climbed by 192,000 last month, led by a 44,000 increase at professional and business services.
Companies employing 500 or more workers added 44,000 jobs. Medium-sized businesses – those with 50 to 499 workers – boosted headcount by 82,000 and small companies took on 79,000 workers.
The ADP figures are based on data from businesses with almost 24 million workers on their combined payrolls.
The report precedes the January jobs report, published by the Labor Department, that’s expected to show employment growth moderated to a more sustainable level after a surge of 292,000 in December. Employers took on 190,000 workers last month, while the jobless rate held at 5 percent, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Private businesses may have added 180,000 workers after rising 275,000 the month before, the survey projections also show.