ADP: Employment grows by 242K jobs in February; annual pay up 7.2%

February saw the nation’s employment level rise, according to the monthly ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday, as the private sector added 242,000 jobs. Job gains are solid and wage growth remains elevated. A particular area of weakness is with small establishments, which have shed jobs every month since August.

The ADP report also showed annual pay was up 7.2% year-over-year.

“There is a tradeoff in the labor market right now,” Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP, said. “We’re seeing robust hiring, which is good for the economy and workers, but pay growth is still quite elevated. The modest slowdown in pay increases, on its own, is unlikely to drive down inflation rapidly in the near-term.”

Looking at where the jobs were added, the service-providing sector added 190,000 jobs, with leisure/hospitality adding 83,000 positions.

In terms of company size, hiring was strong across the larger establishments — adding 160,000 spots. Medium firms increased by 148,000 positions and small establishments lost 61,000 jobs.

February’s pay growth slowed from the prior data set, as it dropped to 7.2%, with most industries little changed.

Pay growth decelerated for job changers, too, falling to 14.3% from 14.9%.