U.S. businesses added 517,000 workers in March as states like Texas and Florida lifted pandemic restrictions, data from payroll provider ADP indicated Wednesday.
Economists surveyed by Econoday had forecast job growth of 500,00, although estimates ranged from 225,000 to 750,000.
In March, Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted the restrictions on business in his state and ended its mask mandate. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis barred local governments from fining businesses for violations of local covid safety restrictions. Many other states have also eliminated or pared back restrictions placed on businesses during the pandemic.
The pandemic appears to have made it harder for ADP to measure job growth, perhaps because so much of the economy is responding to governmental restrictions. Last year ADP’s estimates consistently failed to track job growth. And that has continued into this year. Last month, ADP said private payrolls grew by just 117,000. Government data released a few days later showed payrolls expanding by 465,000.
Goods-producing businesses added 80,000 jobs, including 49,000 in manufacturing. Construction added 32,000. Mining operations shed 1,000.
Services providers added 437,000 jobs, including 169,000 in leisure and hospitality. That is a strong indicator that the surge in hiring is related to the economy reopening and restrictions on businesses coming to an end.
Trade, transportation, and utilities added 92,000 jobs. Professional and business services added 83,000. Education and health services added 68,000.
Small businesses, with 49 or fewer employers, added 174,000. Midsized businesses, with 50 to 499 employees, added 188,000. Larger businesses added 155,000.
January’s ADP figure was revised up to 176,000.
On Friday, the Department of Labor will release its official estimate of employment and job growth for March. Economists are expecting 625,000, up from 379,000 in February. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 6.0 percent, down two-tenths from the prior month.