Private employers went on a surprisingly busy hiring spree in February. The ADP National Employment Report showed they added 298,000 jobs. That blasted way past Wall Street's expectations for a gain of 190,000.
Accounting for that surprise, say economists: the unusually mild winter weather. Construction companies added 66,000 jobs. Manufacturers and mining companies also beefed up their payrolls.
That ADP report comes one day before the Labor Department issues its employment report.
Moody's chief capital markets economist John Lonski:
SOUNDBITE: JOHN LONSKI, CHIEF CAPITAL MARKETS ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS, (ENGLISH) SAYING:
"That much bigger than anticipated addition to private sector payrolls in February via the ADP makes it an almost near certainty that the Fed will hike rates on March 15. It would take a very weak employment report from the U.S. government for the month of February to overturn that particular conviction."
Separately, the Labor Department reported that productivity grew at weaker-than-expected 1.3 percent annualized rate in the last quarter of 2016. Sluggish productivity has boosted job growth as employers hire more workers to maintain output.