Private employers in the US hired more workers than expected in February and demand for a range of factory goods was solid in January.
The reports on Wednesday suggested economic activity picked up after it stalled in the final three months of 2012.
Private employers added 198,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the ADP National Employment Report showed, handily beating economists' expectations for an increase of 170,000. There were solid gains in construction, where payrolls rose by 21,000 jobs.
Adding to the report's firm tone, January's count was revised to show 23,000 more jobs added than previously reported. The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
"It feels like underlying job growth continues to improve, and at the current pace, this should be enough to start bringing down unemployment," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. The jobless rate is currently at 7.9%. (Guardian)
"In a really rip-roaring economy, we'd be creating closer to 300,000 jobs a month or a bit north of that. So we're not there yet, but we're moving in the right direction," he said. (AP)