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The U.S. economy added far more jobs than expected in April as payrolls in the services sector grew by the most in more than two years, according to data released Wednesday by ADP and Moody's Analytics.
Private payrolls grew by 275,000 last month, the biggest increase since July, when they expanded by 284,000. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected private payrolls growth of 177,000.
Services-providing jobs increased by 223,000 in April, led by a gain of 59,000 positions in professional and business services. Education and health services companies added 54,000 jobs while employment within the leisure and hospitality industry expanded by 53,000.
Goods-producing jobs — which include construction, manufacturing and mining — rose by 52,000, led by a 49,000 payrolls increase in construction. The economy added just 5,000 manufacturing jobs while mining employment declined by 2,000.
Overall, medium-sized businesses, those that employ 50 to 499 people, led the way in jobs creation last month by adding 145,000 jobs. Jobs within small businesses, meanwhile, increased by 77,000 while large companies hired 53,000.
"The job market is holding firm, as businesses work hard to fill open positions," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said in a statement. "The economic soft patch at the start of the year has not materially impacted hiring. April's job gains overstate the economy's strength, but they make the case that expansion continues on."
Wednesday's report came after the Commerce Department said last week the economy grew by 3.2% in the first quarter on an annualized basis. That was the best start to a year since 2015. The official jobs report for April from the government will be released Friday.