- Private payrolls increased by 183,000 in February according to data released Wednesday by ADP Research Institute and Moody’s Analytics.
- The gain was higher than economists expected and showed strength in the labour market amid panic that a coronavirus outbreak will hurt the US economy.
- “The firewall has some cracks, but judging by the February employment gain it should be strong enough to weather most scenarios,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.
- Read more on Business Insider.
The threat of a coronavirus outbreak didn’t stop private companies in the US from hiring in February according to a new report.
Private company payrolls increased by 183,000 from January to February, according to data released Wednesday by ADP Research Institute. The gain was higher than the median economist estimate of 170,000, according to Bloomberg data, but fell short of January’s number, which was revised down to 209,000 from 291,000.
The data shows that there is still strength in the labour market amid a panic that COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, would hinder global growth. The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 3,200 people and infected more than 94,000.
“COVID-19 will need to break through the job market firewall if it is to do significant damage to the economy,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which produces the report with ADP. “The firewall has some cracks, but judging by the February employment gain it should be strong enough to weather most scenarios.”
Still, the impact of the virus could show up in payroll data at a later date. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates in an emergency cut to combat the potential impact of coronavirus on the US economy.
The goods-producing sector added 11,000 jobs in the month, with gains in construction offsetting declines in manufacturing and mining. Service-producers added 172,000 jobs, led by gains in education and health services, according to the report.
The ADP report comes before the Labour Department releases its monthly nonfarm payroll numbers, due Friday. Economists expect the government report will show a 160,000 increase in payrolls and an unemployment rate near the 50-year low of 3.5% as wages continue to increase.