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The ADP National Employment Report saw the most gains in professional/business services (33,000 jobs), trade/transportation/utilities (31,000 jobs), and construction (14,000 jobs). Financial services jobs fell again this month by 2,000 jobs. Combined with a downward revision for January's number to -8,000 jobs, these two months are the worst for financial activities since 2011.
Some blame the weather for sluggish job growth.
"Bad winter weather, especially in mid-month, weighed on payrolls," says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's analytics, which releases the report with ADP. "Job growth is expected to improve with warmer temperatures."
Economists had predicted a growth of 158,000 private-sector jobs, according to USA Today. Friday's report from the Labor Department is expected to show a gain of 150,000 jobs.
In addition to the weather, Zandi says in a statement that the job market has felt the pinch of expired benefits for the long-term unemployed and cutbacks in programs like food stamps.
He predicts that job growth will bounce back to about 200,000 jobs per month in the warmer months in the spring and summer. He further says that the "underlying growth in the economy ... is much stronger than the current data would suggest."
Wages have remained largely stagnant for the last quarter of 2013, according to the PayScale Index, which predicts a 0.7 percent growth in wages for the first quarter of 2014.
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