Above Dow Jones' estimate of 375,000 and the November gain of 505,000, private-sector employers added 807,000 new jobs to the economy in December — the Wednesday numbers from payroll processing firm ADP comes in advance of the official Bureau of Labor Statistics report on Friday.
"After job losses of 22 million in March and April of 2020, the economy has added back 18 million of those jobs through November, although that still means that employment is down by almost 4 million from before the pandemic," PNC Chief Economist Gus Faucher told TheStreet in a statement.
December's numbers are the best since the 882,000 jobs seen in May 2021 and include 138,000 jobs added to the goods-producing industry, 249,000 added to the leisure and hospitality space and 85,000 added to the health and education industries.
According to Faucher, numbers that beat estimates to such an extent are a very positive sign for the job market — while the omicron variant continues to threaten certain industries and a labor shortage forces many employers to offer more competitive options, pandemic recovery is on the horizon as more jobs across all industries become available.
"There were 2.5 million fewer workers and potential workers in the labor force in November 2021 compared to before the pandemic, due to a combination of early retirements; concern about the coronavirus; childcare and schooling problems; and extra income from government assistance, which has made some potential workers choosier in taking a job," Fauscher said. "However, the labor force increased by 600,000 in November, which could be the start of a stronger recovery in the pool of available labor."