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.
    Reuters
    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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9030
    JPY
    USD
    102.41
    GBP
    USD
    0.7470
    CAD
    USD
    1.3038
    INR
    USD
    67.919

    Rates may not be current.