The U.S. private sector added 202,000 positions in December, according to an estimate from ADP and Moody’s Analytics.
This far outpaced the 150,000 new hires forecast by economists. In addition, ADP revised its November estimate dramatically higher, from 67,000 to 160,000.
The report suggests that the labor market ended 2019 in a position of rising strength. The Labor Department will release its report on the jobs situation on Friday. Economists expect that to show a gain of 160,000 private and public sector jobs.
Medium sized businesses, those with between 50 and 499 employees, led the way in job growth, adding 88,000 jobs. Larger businesses added 69,000 and smaller firms added 45,000, ADP/Moody’s said.
Despite the very high number of new positions in December, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said that job gains “continue to moderate.”
“Manufacturers, energy producers and small companies have been shedding jobs. Unemployment is low, but will begin to rise if job growth slows much further,” Zandi said
“As 2019 came to a close, we saw expanded payrolls in December,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “The service providers posted the largest gain since April, driven mainly by professional and business services. Job creation was strong across companies of all sizes, led predominantly by midsized companies.”.