The U.S. job market finished the year on a strong note as total nonfarm private sector employment increased by 241,000 in December, according to the ADP National Employment Report for December 2014.
By comparison, only 227,000 jobs were added in November. The highest growth rate increase was seen in large businesses (those with 500 or more employees), where 66,000 jobs were added in December compared to 54,000 in November. The growth rate of businesses with between 500 and 999 employees nearly doubled, adding 22,000 jobs in December compared with 12,000 in November.
The rates of increase were higher in December than in November for both the goods-producing sector and the service-providing sector. Goods-producing jobs increased by 46,000 in December, compared to 40,000 in November, while service-providing employment gains totaled 194,000 in December compared to 187,000 in November.
Employment in small businesses (those with between one and 49 employees) grew by 106,000 jobs in December, compared with 101,000 in November. In medium-sized businesses (those with between 50 and 499 employees), the number of employment gains dropped slightly from November to December (73,000 compared to 70,000). The financial activities sector experienced its best month of 2014 in December, adding 16,000 jobs, compared with just 5,000 added in November.
"December delivered another strong number well above 200,000 to close out a solid year of employment growth with over two and a half million jobs added," said Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of ADP. "Small businesses continue to lead the way, but mid-sized and large companies also showed solid gains."
December was the fourth consecutive month and the eighth month out of the last nine in which more than 200,000 jobs were added nationwide. The highest total of jobs added during any one month in 2014 was 297,000 in June. The labor market ended 2014 on a high note after the year began with just 121,000 jobs added in January.
"The job market continues to power forward," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics. "Businesses across all industries and sizes are adding to payrolls. At the current pace of job growth, the economy will be back to full employment by this time next year."