According to Automated Data Processing (ADP), manufacturers added 21,000 net new employees in February, up from an increase of 16,000 in each of the past two months. This suggests that the stronger growth in industry employment has continued into February. Goods-producing firms – which include manufacturing, construction, and mining – added 46,000 net new jobs. This is the fifth consecutive month of gains in the goods-producing sectors, with 146,000 more employees added in that time frame.
For the economy as a whole, there were 216,000 new nonfarm, private payrolls, up from 173,000 last month. Small and medium-sized employers (e.g., those with less than 500 employees) accounted for all but 20,000 of those jobs.
Of course, the ADP figures are a precursor for the release of the official jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday. BLS reported 243,000 new nonfarm payrolls jobs and 50,000 manufacturing workers in January. Expectations are slightly lower payroll numbers for February, with the current consensus estimate of 150,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs.
Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.