Private employers added 217,000 jobs in February -- far more than expected -- payroll giant ADP (ADP) announced Wednesday. That's the fifth straight month of significant gains and additional evidence the U.S. job market continues to heal.

A Bloomberg survey had forecast private employers would add 180,000 jobs in February after adding a revised 189,000 in January, which slightly topped initial estimates of 187,000. The economy added 247,000 private sector jobs in December, 92,000 in November and 79,000 in October.

"This month's ADP National Employment Report suggests continued solid growth of nonfarm private employment early in 2011," ADP said. "The recent pattern of rising employment gains since the middle of last year was reinforced by today's report, as the average gain from December through February (217,000) is well above the average gain over the prior six months (63,000)."

The job gains were concentrated in the services sector and in small- to medium-size businesses. Small businesses added 100,000 jobs, midsize businesses added 104,000 and large businesses added 13,000.

Services added 202,000 jobs, manufacturing added 20,000 and the goods producers added 15,000. Employment growth in financial services, however, was flat. And the construction sector lost 9,000 jobs.

Mixed Signals as Layoffs Increase

Economists monitor monthly job reports because job creation is positively correlated with corporate revenue and earning gains. And, in general, the U.S. stock market tracks corporate earnings.

Separately, however, private placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said layoff announcements by U.S. employers totaled 50,702 in February, up 32% from January, and up 20% from a year ago when they totaled 42,090, Reuters reported Wednesday. Even so, Challenger added that the pace of planned job-cutting remained subdued. For the first two months of 2011, layoffs totaled 89,211, down about 20% from 113,572 for the first two months of 2010.

While ADP's private employment survey isn't as comprehensive as the U.S. Labor Department's nonfarm monthly report, due out this Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET, it still provides evidence that employers are more confident about adding employees this year than at the beginning of 2010. That bodes well for at least a modest decline in the country's high 9% unemployment rate in 2011, assuming the period of large, public sector layoffs is over.

Still, it's important for investors to keep the five-month private sector job growth streak in perspective. America's job deficit is huge: The economy is short about 15 million full-time jobs, which means the nation will have to register strong employment growth over several years -- not months -- to return to a more reasonable unemployment rate around 6% to 7%.

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ivyteainn

The public sector layoffs are far from over because of decreasing tax revenues and the economy is producing convenience store jobs, so job creation is really a hoax. It's time to put a protective tariff wall around this country to stop cheap Asian imports from destroying us. This country became great in the 19th century with protectionism.

March 03 2011 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MY LORD

What would be really surprising if anyone believed this BS. " Oh yeah....things are just great"

March 03 2011 at 7:01 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MY LORD's comment
bggdg

What's not to believe? That the author altered the information reported in the article. Or that the source compiling the information altered it?

March 03 2011 at 8:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
martinsportraits

Yet another refreshing story from the Joe Lazzaro Kool-Aid stand.............drink up people........things have never been better!

March 03 2011 at 3:43 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
bill griffis

thye kep on forgeting the 99ers in there reports

March 03 2011 at 12:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bill griffis's comment
warrenbent

No, the don't

March 03 2011 at 9:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bill griffis

many of the companies laying off do not have many to lay off left. and that a act not reported

March 03 2011 at 12:34 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
nadiz6

There is more than 16 million people unemployed and the obama adminstration saying there is thousands of jobs is created each month and un employment went down to 9% , the problem is no body see this jobs,and no body ie know where it is my be in washington DC ,when is the obama adminstration stop cooking the numbers and stop lying to american people ,we know that election is coming and if he does not show reports that jobs are created and un employment goes down ,no one will reelect him again as a president ,this is the worse economy seen in last 30 years and middle class is hurt so bad and now gas prices is skyrocketing and what he is doing about it nothing as usual , I do not hear this corrupt media complain about it like they use to do during bush adminstration when they accuse him he is in bed with petrolium companies and now prices is much higher

March 03 2011 at 12:27 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to nadiz6's comment
wfreeberg

The jobs are all over the country; you need to get up off your butt, get in a car or get on a bus and go find them. I know for a fact that healthcare and IT are starving for good American workers. There are few to find so hospitals go to other countries to recruit and IT is many times outsourced to other countries. It could be America is in a bind because we've become lazy, stupid, and we believe we're owed something. Hopefully you are aware that over 30% of our kids drop out of school befor graduation, could that be part of the problem?

March 03 2011 at 5:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
weedpatchxlies

This is another lie from the Obama administration.

March 03 2011 at 12:03 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to weedpatchxlies's comment
bggdg

Actually, this information is not from the Obama administration. It's from a private company.

March 03 2011 at 8:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
AREK

AOL LIB CRAP as usual...!

March 03 2011 at 12:01 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
darinw40@mail.com

I call BS!!!!!Who cooked/skewed the data?

March 02 2011 at 10:16 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to darinw40@mail.com's comment
mainaz57

Lazaro as usual

March 02 2011 at 11:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
bggdg

The author merely reported a piece of information.

March 03 2011 at 8:26 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
savemycountry911

Nite again ignorant libs.

March 02 2011 at 10:07 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to savemycountry911's comment
HELLO BIG DAN

Nite sweety.

March 02 2011 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply