Private payrolls grew in January at a much faster pace than expected as the labor market shrugged off the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, according to data released Wednesday by ADP and Moody’s Analytics.
Companies added 213,000 jobs this month, the data show. Economists polled by Refinitiv expected payrolls to grow by 178,000.
The strong jobs growth comes even as the U.S. government was shut down for 35 days in a standoff between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over his demand for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The job market weathered the government shutdown well. Despite the severe disruptions, businesses continued to add aggressively to their payrolls,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “As long as businesses hire strongly, the economic expansion will continue on.”
Medium-sized businesses, those that employ 50 to 499 people, led the charge by adding 84,000 payrolls. Large businesses, which have at least 500 employees, expanded their head count by 66,000. Small businesses added 63,000 jobs.
The services sector contributed the lion’s share of the jobs this month, with 145,000 jobs being added. Within the services sector, jobs in professional and business services grew by 46,000 while education and health services payrolls expanded by 38,000. The goods-producing sector, which includes construction, mining and manufacturing, added 68,000 jobs.
Wednesday’s report comes two days ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report. Economists expect the government’s tally to show a gain of about 168,000 jobs for January.