WASHINGTON (AP) — A survey shows U.S. companies added fewer jobs in March compared with the previous month, as construction firms held off on hiring after three months of solid gains.
Private employers added 158,000 jobs last month, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday. That’s down from February’s gain of 237,000 and January’s 177,000.
Construction companies didn’t add any jobs in March, after average monthly gains of 29,000 in the previous three months.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said the hiring surge during the previous months likely reflected a jump in rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy.
Service firms’ growth weakens
U.S. service companies expanded in March at a slower pace, dragged down by less growth in new orders and weaker hiring.
The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of nonmanufacturing activity fell to 54.4 last month from 56 in February. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.
March’s figure is the lowest in seven months.
Home prices up 10% over last year
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices jumped in February by the largest amount in seven years, evidence that the housing recovery strengthened ahead of the all-important spring-buying season.
Home prices rose 10.2 percent in February compared with a year earlier, CoreLogic, a real estate data provider, said Wednesday. The annual gain was the biggest since March 2006. Prices have now increased on an annual basis for 12 straight months, underscoring the recovery’s steady momentum.
Prices rose in 47 of 50 states and in all but four of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.