A National Career Fairs' job fair in New York in October.(Photo: Bebeto Matthews, AP)
Private sector employers added 215,000 jobs in December, beating
expectations, as construction surged and businesses of all sizes added
workers, according to a monthly survey by payroll-processing company
In another report Thursday, the Labor Department said weekly
claims for unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to 372,000 in the latest
The hiring reflected in the ADP report defied expectations
that companies were holding back because of worries about the fiscal
cliff, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, which
produces the report with ADP. The construction industry alone added
39,000 workers during the month. In the last year, private employers
have added 1.7 million jobs, ADP said.
``The clearest point in the data is that the fiscal cliff debate has
not seemed to do any significant damage,'' Zandi said on a conference
call. ``It's very positive, because there is more fiscal debate to
come,'' as Congress turns from the tax bill it approved this week to
considering spending cuts and an increase in the debt ceiling, Zandi
The gain in construction was probably driven by recovery
efforts following Superstorm Sandy, but smaller monthly gains are
likekly to be sustained as commercial construction picks up this year,
The Federal Reserve, which has been trying to
stimulate the economy with monetary policy to offset the expected drag
from higher taxes and spending cuts, is likely to be heartened by the
news, but will continue its easy-money policy, Zandi said.
don't think they'll think it means we're out of the woods -- I certainly
don't,'' Zandi said. In the next few months, job growth is likely to
stay close to the 150,000 new jobs per month pace it has sustained
during the recovery to date, he said.
Economists surveyed by
Bloomberg expect the government to say the economy added 155,000 jobs in
December, with the most bullish economist predicting 225,000 jobs and
the most pessmistic estimate coming in at 125,000.
survey predicts the unemployment rate will rise to 7.8% from 7.7% in
November. Last month's rate dropped 0.2 percentage points because more
workers reported they had stopped looking for work.
Stock index futures trimmed their losses on the news.
also revised its estimate of November hiring, saying companies added
148,000 workers during that month. That's 30,000 more than the original
estimate released in early December.
The report comes a day ahead
of the government's closely-followed report on employment. Economists'
consensus forecast predicts the report will show the economy gained
150,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate held steady at 7.7%.
revised ADP report for November brings the payroll firm's estimate of
job growth to within 1,000 new jobs of the government's initial
estimate. The ADP report has been criticized for being an inaccurate
indicator of what the government will report, and Moody's has tweaked
the methodology of the report since it began to work with ADP in the
fall, Zandi said.
In the unemployment claims report,, the winter holidays likely distorted the data for a second week.
Labor Department said weekly applications rose 10,000 to a seasonally
adjusted 372,000, while the previous week's total was revised higher.
state unemployment offices were closed last week for the New Year's
holiday. As a result, the department relied on estimates for nine
states. Two weeks ago, the department estimated 19 states because of
In a typical week, the government estimates only one or two states.