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Job Growth Was Weak Again In February, ADP Survey Shows

The scene at a job fair last year in Emeryville, Calif.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images
The scene at a job fair last year in Emeryville, Calif.

Private employers added only 139,000 jobs to their payrolls in February and job growth in January was even less than previously thought, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

The news is a sign that Friday's much-anticipated employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also may show that job growth hasn't been strong in recent months. Ahead of that report, Reuters writes, economists say they're expecting to hear that as few as 95,000 jobs were added to public and private payrolls last month. The nation's unemployment rate is thought to have stayed at 6.6 percent.

Wednesday's report, which is produced by payroll specialists ADP in conjunction with economists at Moody's Analytics, indicates that job growth last month was held back at least in part by the weather. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says in the report that "bad winter weather, especially in mid-month, weighed on payrolls." The hope is, he added, that job growth will pick up again when temperatures start to rise across the nation.

There was wicked winter weather in January, as well, which may explain at least some of the sharp downward revision in ADP's estimate of payroll growth during that month. Previously, it reported there had been 175,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in January. But on Wednesday, ADP said it now believes there were just 127,000 more jobs than in December.

That revision brings the ADP data more in line with what BLS said about January — that only 113,000 jobs were added to public and private payrolls that month.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.