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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8896
JPY
USD
119.26
GBP
USD
0.6475
CAD
USD
1.2451
INR
USD
61.816

Rates may not be current.