There were 198,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in February, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report — a privately produced snapshot of the employment picture that's sometimes a signal of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will say when it releases its data from the same month.
ADP didn't only report there was solid, if not spectacular, growth last month. It also revised up its estimate of the growth in January. It now says private employers added 215,000 jobs that month — 23,000 more than previously though.
In the ADP report, Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi says that "the job market remains sturdy in the face of significant fiscal headwinds. Businesses are adding to payrolls more strongly at the start of 2013 with gains across all industries and business sizes. Tax increases and government spending cuts don't appear to be affecting the job market."
The BLS data on February's employment and unemployment figures are due Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET. In its last report, BLS said the nation's unemployment rate edged up to 7.9 percent in January from 7.8 percent a month before, and that there were 157,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in the first month of the year. According to Reuters, economists expect to hear that there were 160,000 jobs added to payrolls last month and that the jobless rate stayed at 7.9 percent.