Report: Private Sector Adds 209,000 Jobs in March

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A job seeker passes by the registration booths during a career fair at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center September 27, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

The private sector added 209,000 jobs in March, according to an analysis from the payroll services firm ADP. The report also noted that the economy added 23,000 more jobs in the first two months of 2012 than ADP had previously estimated.

The news is ahead of  Friday’s employment situation report, when the Labor Department will announce its estimate of employment growth, including the public sector.

The 209,000 figure is roughly in line with what economists predicted it would be. Bloomberg news surveyed 38 economists, who predicted job gains from 170,000 to 250,000, with the median estimate anticipating 206,000 new jobs.

The gains went most heavily to the service sector, which added 164,000 jobs, while the goods-producing sector added 45,000.

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The report is generally in line with the consensus narrative on the recovering employment picture: We’re seeing fairly robust job growth, enough even to keep ahead of population growth, but perhaps not enough to drop the employment rate further than 8.3%. One of the reasons that the unemployment rate might linger at around that number is that, as the economy improves, more and more formerly discouraged workers will rejoin the official workforce.

So while that particular statistic might not improve much in the coming months, a couple hundred thousand more jobs is nothing to sneeze at – especially if you’re one of the now formerly unemployed.