Private Sector Adds 117,000 Jobs in February, Still Well Below Expectations

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Private sector employment increased by 117,000 jobs from January to February, according to the February ADP National Employment Report, and while the numbers are encouraging, they fell short of expectations.

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“The labor market continues to post a sluggish recovery across the board,” Nela Richardson, ADP chief economist, said in a statement. “We’re seeing large-sized companies increasingly feeling the effects of COVID-19, while job growth in the goods producing sector pauses. With the pandemic still in the driver’s seat, the service sector remains well below its pre-pandemic levels; however, this sector is one that will likely benefit the most over time with reopenings and increased consumer confidence.”

The 117,000 jobs added are well below the 225,000 estimates, according to Dow Jones projections. It’s worth noting that private payrolls remain almost 10 million short of pre-pandemic levels, according to Trading Economics data.

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Medium businesses added the most jobs, with 57,000 added, followed by small business, which added 32,000 jobs. Large businesses only added 28,000 jobs, according to ADP data.

The service-providing sector added 131,000 jobs, with trade/transportation/utilities taking the lead with 48,000 jobs. This was followed by the education/health services sector with 35,000 jobs and the leisure/hospitality sector with 26,000 jobs.

On the other hand, the goods-producing sector lost 14,000 jobs, with manufacturing losing the most, with 14,000 jobs lost, according to the data.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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