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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. private employers added 298,000 jobs in February, well above economists' expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 190,000 jobs, with estimates ranging from 150,000 to 247,000.
Private payroll gains in the month earlier were revised up to 261,000 from an originally reported 246,000 increase.
The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
The ADP figures come ahead of the U.S. Labor Department's more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday, which includes both public and private-sector employment.
Economists polled by Reuters are looking for U.S. private payroll employment to have grown by 193,000 jobs in February, down from 237,000 the month before. Total non-farm employment is expected to have changed by 190,000.
The unemployment rate is forecast to tick down to 4.7 percent from the 4.8 percent recorded a month earlier.