WASHINGTON (AP) — A private survey shows U.S. businesses added a solid number of jobs in February, indicating higher taxes and looming government spending cuts have yet to slow hiring.
Employers added 198,000 jobs in February, according to data released Wednesday by payroll processor ADP. And the survey revised January’s hiring figures to show companies added 215,000 jobs that month, 23,000 more than what had initially been reported.
The ADP report is derived from actual payroll data and tracks total nonfarm private employment each month. The hiring suggests that higher taxes and looming government spending cuts didn’t discourage employers from adding jobs.
The report suggests that the government’s February jobs report, to be issued Friday, may come in above economists’ forecasts. Analysts expect it will show the economy added 152,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dipped to 7.8 percent from 7.9 percent in January.
“Despite the ongoing fiscal uncertainty and the payroll tax hike, the recovery is picking up momentum,” Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients.
Social Security taxes rose 2 percentage points Jan. 1 as part of a deal between the White House and Congress to avert larger tax increases. And about $85 billion in spending cuts took effect March 1, which economists expect will lower growth in the summer and fall.
Even so, hiring was broad-based in February across most industries and business sizes.