There were 297,000 jobs added to businesses' payrolls in December, according to the widely watched ADP National Employment Report, which was released just a short time ago.
And that's well above the 100,000 or so that economists had been expecting, the Associated Press says.
Meanwhile, the latest Intuit Inc. Small Business Employment Index estimates that smaller firms added about 57,000 jobs last month. "Small business is still the most vigorous sector of the employment picture," economist Susan Woodward, who helped create the index, said in a statement released by Intuit. "We generally see a rise in employment for all businesses in December, but this year it is unusually strong."
We'll hear much more about the December employment picture on Friday, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its estimates of the unemployment rate and job growth. Though the economy has officially been out of recession since June 2009, the nation's unemployment rate has been stuck above 9 percent since May of that year. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.