Private sector adds 201K jobs in March

Posted March 30 at 7:24 a.m.

Payroll processing company ADP said private sector payrolls grew by 201,000 in March, after a revised 217,000 increase in February. Economists were expecting a gain of 210,000 private sector jobs, according to consensus estimates from

ADP said the average monthly increase in employment over the last four months has been 211,000, which is “consistent with a gradual if uneven decline in the unemployment rate.“

“This month’s ADP National Employment Report removes any remaining doubt that nonfarm private employment accelerated heading into 2011,“ said ADP spokesman Joel Prakken, who is also chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers.

But for workers in public sector jobs, it was not a good month. Government positions dominated planned job cuts, accounting for 19,099, or 46 percent of all announced reductions.

“It is difficult to be optimistic about the outlook for government workers,“ said Rick Cobb, executive vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “Most cities and states have only just begun to address their massive budget deficits, and we have yet to see how budget cutbacks are going to impact workers at the federal level.“

The ADP and Challenger reports typically set the tone for the government’s highly anticipated monthly employment data, which is due Friday.

Ahead of the jobs report, economists surveyed by CNNMoney are predicting the economy added 180,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate held steady at 8.9 percent.

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