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

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
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 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 Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.