WASHINGTON -- Business hiring picked up steam this month, with private employers adding a stronger-than-expected 200,000 net new jobs for the biggest monthly gain of the year, payroll processing firm ADP said Wednesday.
The widely watched report also revised up its figure for June to 198,000 from the initial estimate of 188,000.
July job growth was the most since December, when the private sector added 209,000, and bodes well for Friday's government employment report.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News are expecting the Labor Department to report that the U.S. economy added a healthy 185,000 jobs this month, down from 195,000 in June. The unemployment rate is forecast to drop to 7.5% from 7.6%
"Job growth remains remarkably stable," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP with the monthly report.
"Businesses are adding to payrolls in most industries and across all company sizes," he said. "The job market has admirably weathered the fiscal headwinds, tax increases and government spending cuts."
The rebounding housing market helped job growth this month, with the construction industry adding 22,000 jobs. That was up from an addition of 17,000 jobs in June and the most since January.
But economic problems in Europe and other parts of the world weighed on U.S. factories, Zandi said.
The manufacturing sector shed 5,000 jobs in July, according to the ADP report. It was the third time in four months that has happened. Manufacturing job growth was flat in June.
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