Employment continues to expand, according to ADP's (NASDAQ:ADP) National Employment Report for December (link opens in PDF), which was released today. Nonfarm private employment increased by a seasonally adjusted 238,000  jobs for December, the strongest monthly growth in 2013.

Human capital management company ADP partners with Moody's Analytics to produce this monthly report based on ADP payroll data representing 411,000 U.S. clients employing nearly 24 million workers in the U.S.

After increasing a revised 229,000 for November, analysts had expected December's growth to slow slightly to an adjusted 205,000 jobs, leaving them pleasantly surprised by today's news. 

ADP Change in Nonfarm Payrolls Chart

ADP Change in Nonfarm Payrolls data by YCharts.

Small businesses (1-49 workers) hit their strongest growth since early 2012, adding 108,000 employees to their ranks. Medium (50-499) companies contributed 59,000, while large (500+) companies increased their workforce by 71,000. 

The services sector accounted for 170,000 of the new jobs, whiles goods-producing companies tagged along for an extra 69,000. In the industry breakdown, manufacturing added 19,000 while construction added 48,000, the most since 2006. ADP said that over all of 2013, goods-producers added 286,000 jobs, and nearly 75% of those gains came from construction as the housing recovery accelerated.

In the services-providing industries, private payrolls increased by nearly 1.9 million jobs in 2013. According to ADP, the bulk of that increase was split evenly between transportation/trade/utilities and professional/business services. Finance lagged the group, gaining just 59,000 in the past 12 months.

According to Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, things are looking up for next year:

The job market ended 2013 on a high note. Job growth meaningfully accelerated and is now over 200,000 per month. Job gains are broad-based across industries, most notably in construction and manufacturing. It appears that businesses are growing more confident and increasing their hiring.

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