Private-sector employment grows in Feb., but goods-producing sectors slump, ADP reports

Private-sector employment continued its slow rebound in February, as the nation gained 117,000 jobs, according to the latest report from ADP.

The Roseland-based payroll and human resources company said in its monthly ADP National Employment Report that nonfarm private employment grew, led by medium-sized businesses of 50-499 workers. Those firms gained 57,000 jobs for the month, with small businesses of fewer than 50 employees adding 32,000 jobs and large businesses of 500 or more workers adding 28,000.

The service-providing sector added 131,000 jobs for the month, but the goods-producing sector actually lost jobs, at a total of -14,000.

“The labor market continues to post a sluggish recovery across the board,” Nela Richardson, chief economist for ADP, said in a prepared statement. “We’re seeing large-sized companies increasingly feeling the effects of COVID-19, while job growth in the goods-producing sector pauses. With the pandemic still in the driver’s seat, the service sector remains well below its pre-pandemic levels; however, this sector is one that will likely benefit the most over time, with reopenings and increased consumer confidence.”

While trade/transportation/utilities added 48,000 jobs and education/health services added 35,000 to lead the industry gains, three industries lost positions. Information, in the service sector, lost 3,000 jobs. And in the goods-producing sector, both manufacturing, at -14,000, and construction, at -3,000, lost positions.