US jobs market moves up a gear

US private employers hired staff at the fastest pace in 13 months in December, data from a payrolls processor showed yesterday, burnishing expectations that similar figures due later in the week from the government will confirm the US economy was gathering steam at the end of last year.

Companies added 238,000 jobs last month after an upwardly revised 229,000 in November, the ADP National Employment Report showed, topping expectations in a Reuters poll for a gain of 200,000.

It was the largest monthly gain since November 2012 and brought a three-month average of corporate hiring to nearly 225,000 a month, the fastest such pace in 21 months.

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“We’re now going to start to see an economic recovery more typical of the economic recoveries we’ve seen historically,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which jointly develops the report with payrolls processor ADP. “It feels like the jobs market has kicked into a higher gear.”

US stocks were modestly lower following the report, while the euro fell to a one-month low against the dollar. The dollar also extended its gains against the yen.

US Treasury bond prices extended their decline, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last trading 12/32 lower in price with a yield of 2.982 per cent, up 4.5 basis points from late on Monday.

The ADP report comes two days ahead of the government’s nonfarm payrolls report, a measure of the labour market that is more comprehensive and includes both public and private sector employment.