News / Economy

US Private-Sector Hiring Breaks Out of Winter Freeze

FILE - A crowd of job seekers attends a health care job fair  in New York, March 14, 2013.
FILE - A crowd of job seekers attends a health care job fair in New York, March 14, 2013.
U.S. companies stepped up hiring in March for a second straight month, offering fresh evidence the economy was regaining momentum after a weather-driven lull over the winter.
Private employers added 191,000 workers to payrolls last month and 39,000 more were added in February than previously believed, payrolls processor ADP said on Wednesday.
The signs of solid hiring added to a steady stream of fairly upbeat data that suggests the economy started to accelerate as the grip of an unusually cold winter began to loosen and helps  keep hopes alive that the U.S. economy's performance in 2014 will be its best since the recession ended almost five years ago.
“Whatever impact the weather was having is starting to dissipate and we are starting to see the economy gain traction,” said Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The report, which is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics, was released ahead of the government's more comprehensive report on employment on Friday.
That report is expected to show nonfarm payrolls rose by 200,000 in March, the largest gain in four months, according to a Reuters poll of economists. The poll was taken before the ADP data was released, but many economists said the ADP report did not shift their views.
A separate report showed small business hiring increased for a sixth straight month in March. The National Federation of Independent Business said small business employment increased by an average of 0.18 worker per firm, up from 0.11 in February.
Prices for U.S Treasury debt fell on the signs of quickened hiring, while the dollar rose against a basket of currencies. Stocks on Wall Street were trading modestly higher.
Signs of improvement in the labor market will be welcomed by the Federal Reserve, which has been scaling back its monthly bond-buying program in a vote of confidence in the economy.
The show of labor market strength could heighten speculation on the timing of the U.S. central bank's first interest rate increase. It has held benchmark overnight lending rates at a record low of zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008.
“For the Fed, employment growth in the 200,000 to 225,000 range will be seen as good enough to justify their current bias for tapering and a pivot towards a 2015 start to policy tightening,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.
Factory orders rebound

The unusually cold and snowy winter was just one factor that hobbled the economy at the end of 2013 and the start of this year. Growth also took a knock from businesses placing fewer orders with manufacturers while working through a pile of unsold goods, and from the temporary drag from the expiration of long-term unemployment benefits and cuts to food stamps.
These factors are expected to lower growth to an annualized pace below 2 percent in the first quarter. The economy expanded at a 2.6 percent rate in the last three months of 2013.
Signs of an economic thaw were also evident in a separate report from the Commerce Department that showed new orders for manufactured goods jumped 1.6 percent in February, the biggest rise since September.
However, January's orders were revised to show a larger 1.0 percent drop from a previously reported 0.7 percent fall.
Inventories at factories rose 0.7 percent in February, the biggest increase since October 2011. Bullard said that was likely because other businesses were holding the line on their inventory, leaving a buildup at factories.
In another upbeat economic sign, shipments from factories increased 0.9 percent, the largest rise since last July.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.