The new year got off to a strong start for job creation, with businesses adding 234,000 in January, according to a report Wednesday from ADP and Moody’s Analytics.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had been looking for private payrolls to grow by 185,000.
Job creation was concentrated largely in service-related industries, which contributed 212,000 to the total.
Within that sector some of the better-paying industries showed solid gains: Trade, transportation and utilities led with 51,000, education and health services added 47,000 and professional and businesses services contributed 46,000. Leisure and hospitality services also grew by 46,000.
On the goods-producing side, manufacturing added 12,000 jobs while construction saw 9,000 new hires despite the traditionally slow month for the industry.
“The job market juggernaut marches on,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “Given the strong January job gain, 2018 is on track to be the eighth consecutive year in which the economy creates over 2 million jobs. If it falls short, it is likely because businesses can’t find workers to fill all the open job positions.”
ADP’s latest count comes with the national unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, though wage pressures remain muted. Economic growth overall has been solid, with the Atlanta Fed projecting the economy to grow 4.2 percent in the first quarter.