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TheStreet Open House

ADP Jobs Number Is Boffo -- Here's What It Means for the Economy

Stocks in this article: CMCSAFNMA

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The ADP jobs number is flat-out great. Private employers added 281,000 workers in June, crushing forecasts for 213,000 new jobs and beating last month's 179,000 new jobs.

So what does this jobs number mean?

1. Hiring -- if not the job market as a whole -- is basically fine now.

Assuming that the Labor Department's report Thursday confirms that employers added at least 200,00 jobs in June, that will be the first five-month stretch of consecutive gains of 200,000-plus since the 1990s, Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said.  It will take another year or two for the millions of workers who have only part-time jobs and want full-time slots to find them, he said.

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That's when wage growth will accelerate more sharply -- and force a reaction from the Federal Reserve around 2017, Zandi added. In the meantime, wages will begin rising slightly faster than the recent 2% annual clip by 2015, he predicted.

The basic trend rate is now 225,000 new jobs a month, with some small monthly variations, Zandi said. Simple arithmetic suggests that means sub-6% unemployment by the end of the year, even if the labor force grows some, said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors.

Another sign of good times is that the breadth of hiring is excellent. Every industry ADP surveys added jobs in June.

Whether it's Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal adding thousands of workers as it expands its Orlando theme parks, or Berkshire Hathaway's Burlington Northern Railroad adding staff to haul oil from the Bakken shale, businesses of all shapes and sizes are now hiring.

2. Housing -- the economy's wild card -- is fine.

Construction added 36,000 jobs in June. For at least a year, construction has been the key to the model for how job growth could pick up to a sustained 250,000 per month. The economy had been adding less than 5,000 construction jobs a month through mid-2013 even as the housing market accelerated.

Recent housing data has been a puzzle. New home sales were up 19% in May, but housing starts missed forecasts.

But the most recent data show that consumers are out looking for, and committing to, housing again. Contracts to sell existing home beat May forecasts as well. And builders who have been hit by spot labor shortages are betting on the trend to last

3. Credit matters above all.

Small business hiring was especially strong at 117,000 new jobs, which Zandi chalked up to easier credit for small businesses. Easy credit has also fueled the car sales rebound.

But the lingering of tight mortgage credit is holding back housing. The average Fannie Mae (FNMA) new mortgage goes to a borrower with a 740 credit score or higher -- while a third of new car loans are going to subprime borrowers.

Put simply, housing will make up most of its remaining weakness once regulators let banks lend as freely for homes as they are beginning to do for everything else. Washington, take note.

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