Companies accelerated their hiring this month as the private sector added 220,000 net new jobs in a sign the labor market's winter doldrums are over, according to a report Wednesday from Automatic Data Processing.
The payroll firm also revised its March figure up by 18,000, to 209,000, indicating that hiring was recovering after a slowdown caused by unusually cold and snowy weather in much of the nation.
The private-sector job growth was the best reported by ADP since November, when companies added 245,000 positions.
"The job market is gaining strength. After a tough winter, employers are expanding payrolls across nearly all industries and company sizes," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP in preparing the report.
"Job market prospects are steadily improving,” he said.
The ADP figure exceeded analyst expectations for private-sector job growth of 210,000 this month and is a positive sign ahead of Friday's government jobs report.
Economists are expecting the Labor Department to report that the private and public sectors added a total of 215,000 net new jobs in April, up from 192,000 last month. That would be the best overall job market performance since November, before severe winter weather slowed economic growth.
Analysts also expect the nation's unemployment rate to drop by a tenth of a percentage point to 6.6%, which would match the lowest level since before the Great Recession.ADP's report is closely watched for hints of overall job growth, but it can be an imprecise barometer.
Based on about 500,000 companies for which ADP processes payrolls, the monthly figure sometimes widely overshoots or undershoots the Labor Department's more comprehensive report covering the private and public sectors.
But in March, ADP's initial estimate of 191,000 net new jobs was in line with the Labor Department's figure of 192,000 for the private sector. Government job growth was flat in March.