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U.S. businesses added 298,000 jobs last month

Staff Writer |
A labor-market survey provided the latest signal that job growth is strengthening along with business confidence.

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Payroll processor ADP said businesses added 298,000 private-sector jobs in February, significantly above the 189,000 forecast.

The figure was the latest positive reading on the labor market following a strong hiring report from LinkedIn, low jobless claims, and a surge in service-sector activity.

Together, the indicators are stoking expectations for Friday’s closely watched survey from the Labor Department, which counts both private and government jobs. That report is projected to show 190,000 payroll gains, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

ADP said construction companies added 66,000 jobs last month, a likely reflection of relatively mild winter weather.

Professional and business services also added 66,000 jobs, while the leisure and hospitality industry added 40,000; health care, 38,000; and manufacturing, 32,000.

The strong gains by the nation’s factories are a sign that the oil industry's rebound is bolstering manufacturing jobs.

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