The private sector added a whopping 978,000 jobs in May, according to payroll company ADP, well above the 680,000 economists expected and the highest level since last summer.
“Private payrolls showed a marked improvement from recent months and the strongest gain since the early days of the recovery,” said ADP’s chief economist, Nela Richardson. “Companies of all sizes experienced an uptick in job growth, reflecting the improving nature of the pandemic and economy.”
The figures could be a good sign ahead of Friday’s official jobs report from the Labor Department, though the two reports often vary.
Last month, ADP reported 654,000 new private-sector jobs, but the Labor report came back with a disappointing 266,000, well below the 1 million economists had expected.
The unexpectedly small number threw a wrench in expectations for a quick, straightforward path to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and led to finger-pointing between Democrats and Republicans over policies such as generous emergency unemployment benefits.