U.S. companies added strong 200,000 jobs in March

Christopher S. Rugaber
Associated Press

Washington — U.S. companies added 200,000 jobs in March, buoyed by strong gains in construction, retail and shipping, according to a private survey.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that financial services firms also posted solid gains, while manufacturing employment barely rose.

The figures point to an economy that continues to generate steady hiring, despite worries that growth slowed this year, held back by weak overseas economies and cautious consumers.

The ADP report comes out two days before the U.S. government’s official jobs report. The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the official figures.

Economists surveyed by the data firm FactSet predict American employers added 200,000 jobs in March, down from 242,000 in February, while unemployment stayed 4.9 percent.

Yet some data has come in weaker than many expected, sparking concerns about growth.