The U.S. economy created nearly 200,000 new private-sector jobs last month, a closely watched economic indicator reported on Wednesday, feeding hopes about the economic recovery and a thaw in labor markets.
The ADP National Employment report said total private payrolls jumped by 191,000 in March, but it also sharply revised upward February's figure, to 178,000 from 139,000. Analysts in a consensus estimate had expected a gain of 195,000 jobs.
Small business created 72,000 total jobs, ADP said, while medium-sized firms generated 52,000. Large businesses created 67,000 new positions during the month.
The data heightened Wall Street's expectations over the government's non-farm payrolls report on Friday.
The economy appears to be gaining some momentum after an unusually cold and snowy winter. On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, reported that U.S. manufacturing grew at a slightly faster pace last month as factory output bounced back from disruptions caused by severe winter weather.
And U.S. auto sales rose 6 percent to 1.5 million vehicles last month, far outpacing analysts' expectations. The sales pace was the fastest since November, according to Autodata Corp.
(Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report)