The first slice of data about job growth in March offers some hope that the U.S. labor market gained some strength:
There were 191,000 more jobs on private companies' payrolls last month than in February, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report. That's pretty close to what Reuters says economists were expecting to hear: that there were 195,000 more jobs in March than in February.
What's more, payroll processer ADP and econometrics firm Moody's Analytics said in their jointly produced report that job growth in February was better than previously thought. A month ago, they estimated there had been 139,000 jobs added to private companies' payrolls that month. On Wednesday, they revised that figure up sharply, to 178,000.
"The job market is coming out from its deep winter slumber," Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi says in a statement released with the new numbers. "Job gains are consistent with the pace prior to the brutal winter. The gains are broad based across industries and business size classes. Even better numbers are likely in coming months as the weather warms."
The ADP report is something of a preview for the week's most-anticipated economic news — the Bureau of Labor Statistics' look at job growth and the unemployment rate in March. It is due on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.
According to Bloomberg News, economists expect BLS will say there were 200,000 more jobs on public and private payrolls last month than in February. That would be an uptick from February — at least when compared to the initial estimate for growth that month. In its first look at the February figures, BLS said payrolls grew by 175,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent from January's 6.6 percent.