ADP: Private Sector Added 325K Jobs in December

The private sector added a seasonally adjusted 325,000 jobs in December, according an ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) report issued on Thursday, up from 204,000 in November. Last month’s gain marked the largest monthly gain since December 2010, and far surpassed economists’ forecasts.

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Small businesses, categorized as those with fewer than 50 employees, accounted for nearly half of all gains, hiring 148,000 people in December. Medium-sized companies hired 140,000 new workers, while large companies with over 500 employees added 37,000 to their payrolls.

Though ADP only tracks private-sector payrolls, today’s report will be followed on Friday with the government’s employment report, which covers both public- and private-sector jobs.

But the two reports don’t always match up, with the Labor Department considered by most economists to be the more accurate of the two. The ADP report’s seasonal adjustments tend to be way off at the end of year. In December 2010, the ADP’s reported numbers for private payroll growth exceeded the government’s official numbers by 130,000.

Still, given the general direction of unemployment data — a Labor Department report today showed initial jobless benefits to have declined to 372,000 in the final week of 2011 — the private sector is sure to have added a fair number of jobs in December, though the government is likely to have cut jobs.

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