Companies hired at the fastest pace in seven months in December ahead of escalating concerns over surging Covid cases, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP. New hires in the leisure and hospitality industry led with 246,000 new positions. Trade, transportation, and utility hirings contributed 138,000, while professional and business services increased by 130,000, and education and health services added 85,000.
Altogether, private job growth totaled 807,000 for the month, well ahead of the Dow Jones estimate for 375,000 and the November gain of 505,000. The November total was revised lower from the initially reported 534,000. The total was the best for the job market since May 2021′s 882,000 figure, according to the ADP data. While service-related professions led with 669,000 new hires, the goods-producing side also showed strong gains. Manufacturing rose 74,000 and construction contributed 62,000 to the total.
Businesses with 500 or more employees accounted for the bulk of the gains in December, adding 389,000 jobs. Medium-sized firms added 214,000, while companies with fewer than 50 workers contributed 204,000.
December was another month of strong private sector job growth. The American Rescue Plan has bolstered our economy, even in the face of COVID. https://t.co/tCH2yYeMhS
— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) January 5, 2022
The job gains came the same month that soaring Covid cases sparked renewed fears of an economic slowdown. The U.S. earlier this week reported 1 million new positive cases in a single day as the Omicron variant has run rampant through the population.
Without any Republican support, Democrats delivered historic COVID relief that prioritized the needs of America’s working families.
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) January 5, 2022
The report’s release also comes two days before the more closely watched nonfarm payrolls report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics that is expected to show growth of 422,000, according to the consensus Dow Jones estimate.
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 5, 2022
The positive effects from the report are already being felt. Following the ADP release, Goldman Sachs raised its estimate for the December nonfarm payrolls count to 500,000, a 50,000 increase from its prior estimate.