By Jeff Cox, CNBC–
Companies added jobs at a blistering pace in February, with a notable shift away from the service-sector positions that have dominated hiring for years, according to a report Wednesday.
Employment in the private sector surged by 298,000 for the month, with goods producers adding 106,000, ADP and Moody’s Analytics said. Construction jobs swelled by 66,000 and manufacturing added 32,000.
The total shattered market expectations of 190,000, according to economists surveyed by ADP. The blockbuster report also solidified market expectations for the Fed to hike interest rates next week. Probability for an increase jumped to 91 percent after the release, according to the CME.
The report encompassed the first full month under President Donald Trump, who has pledged to rebuild the nation’s aging infrastructure system.
“February proved to be an incredibly strong month for employment with increases we have not seen in years,” Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute, said in a statement.
In addition to the construction and manufacturing positions, mining and natural resources also contributed 8,000 to the total. Trump has promised to restore mining jobs as well.
The year is off to a sizzling start for job creation, according to the ADP counts. January added 261,000 positions, a number that was revised upward from the originally reported 246,000.
“Confidence is playing a large role,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, told CNBC. “Businesses are anticipating a lot of good stuff — tax cuts, less regulation. They are hiring more aggressively.”
Services led the way with 193,000 new jobs, with 66,000 coming from professional and business services. Health care added 38,000 while information-related jobs came to 25,000.
Job creation was fairly evenly distributed across business size. Companies with 50 to 499 employees added the most with 122,000, while small firms added 104,000 and large contributed 72,000.
In addition to generally positive sentiment expressed through business surveys, the job climate also got a boost from weather.
The big number could cause economists to adjust their expectations for Friday’s key nonfarm payrolls number from the Labor Department. The market currently expects the report to show growth of about 185,000 jobs.