WASHINGTON Reuters - U.S. private payrolls increased more than expected in December, pointing to underlying labor market strength at the end of 2021.
Private payrolls surged by 807,000 jobs last month, according to the ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday. The data for November was revised lower to show 505,000 jobs added instead of the originally reported 534,000. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted that private payrolls would increase by 400,000 jobs.
The survey was conducted in mid-December, just as COVID-19 cases, driven by the Omicron variant, were surging across the country. Economists believe that there will be some disruption from the winter-wave of infections, though not on the scale seen last summer.
The employment report for December was jointly developed with Moody's Analytics and published on Friday ahead of the Labor Department's more comprehensive and closely watched employment report for December. There is a poor record predicting the private payrolls count in the Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report because of methodology differences.
Between mid-November and mid-December, first-time applications for unemployment benefits declined significantly. The Institute for Supply Management's measure of factory employment rose to an eight-month high in December, with manufacturers noting an improvement in labor supply.
According to a survey by the Reuters of economists, private payrolls were likely to increase by 365,000 jobs in December. Non-farm payrolls are projected to increase by 400,000 jobs. The economy created 210,000 jobs in November.
The government reported on Tuesday that there were 10.6 million job openings at the end of November.
There were signs in November that unemployed Americans were starting to return to the workforce, but the sky-rocketing coronaviruses could force some to stay at home.