US businesses picked up the pace of hiring in February, payrolls firm ADP said Wednesday, in a report confirming months of solid job growth amid a slow recovery in the distressed labor market.
The nonfarm private business sector added a net 216,000 jobs in February, after a slightly upward revised 173,000 reading for January, ADP said.
The employment gains in February "continue to be solid, with job growth averaging just over 200,000 for the past five months," Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive of ADP, said in a statement.
The ADP private-sector report came ahead of the government's highly anticipated February unemployment and job creation data on Friday.
The February jobs gain was in line with analyst expectations. The ADP monthly report is considered an often unreliable indicator of the Labor Department's data on job creation in the world's largest economy.
However, a string of recent data has pointed to a sluggish job recovery under way, leading some analysts to predict the jobless rate will fall again when the Labor Department releases its February job report Friday.
In January, the unemployment rate fell for the fifth straight month, to 8.3 percent, the lowest level since February 2009.