ADP, a global provider of cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions and widely known for its payroll processing services, released its estimate for February private, nonfarm payroll jobs. The report is issued two days before the national employment situation report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The latest data from ADP show private nonfarm employers added 298,000 jobs for the month, a very strong gain. That comes on the heels of a reported gain of 237,000 jobs for January from the BLS.
Other data also support the expectation of continuing gains in jobs. Initial claims for unemployment insurance remain near record lows, and reports from the Institute for Supply Management suggest that both the manufacturing sector and the non-manufacturing sector added jobs in February. The most recent Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed that as of the end of December, 5.5 million jobs remained unfilled across the country.
The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve is meeting on March 14-15, and the expectations for an interest rate hike have increased dramatically in recent weeks. A strong jobs report on Friday, particularly if there is a decline in the unemployment rate and accelerating average hourly earnings, would likely seal the deal for a rate hike on March 15.