The National Employment Report by US private-sector payrolls processor ADP showed that 215,000 new jobs were created in the United States during the month of November, surpassing the analyst consensus estimate of 172,000.
Additionally, October's data was revised significantly higher to show that 184,000 new jobs were created, compared to the initial reading of 130,000.
"The job market remained surprisingly resilient to the government shutdown and brinkmanship over the treasury debt limit. Employers across all industries and company sizes looked through the political battle in Washington. If anything, job growth appears to be picking up," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics.
The positive ADP report joins a number of recent indicators that have been pointing to improvements in the US labour market, such as first-time applications for unemployment benefits, small business hiring, and a national manufacturing survey on Monday.
The ADP report also shows manufacturing and construction payrolls increased by 18,000 each, compared to a gain of 15,000 and 16,000 respectively in October.
While the numbers point to significant improvement in the US jobs market, analysts are turning to the official monthly report from the US Department of Labour due out Friday. The ADP report has not always been very accurate in forecasting the official numbers and is subject to large revisions. Nonetheless, analysts could take the improvement as a good sign.
Ahead of the ADP report, non-farm payrolls were expected to have increased by 180,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, down from October's 204,000 gain. Average hourly earnings were expected to rise 0.2% after edging up by 0.1% in October and the length of the workweek was expected to rise to an average of 34.5 hours from 34.4 hours.
Investors have been increasingly concerned about the jobs market because of its implications for the Federal Reserve's (Fed) monetary policy decisions. The Fed is monitoring economic data, and especially the jobs market, to assess the US recovery as it judges when to begin scaling back its monthly $85bn bond-buying programme. A strong print on new jobs will have investors increasing their bets for the 'tapering' to start as early as this month.
According to Barclays Research, the ADP employment report has shown a pace of private job gains that is about 20k per month lower than the BLS series over the past year.
"We would suggest some caution in this interpretation, however, given that the methodology and frequent revisions to the ADP report limit its usefulness for forecasting on a month-to-month basis," Barclays Research added.
Capital Economics Chief US Economist Paul Ashworth also showed some skepticism. "The first estimates are often well wide of the mark and require large revisions to ensure a close correlation with the official series," he said.
"We wouldn't put a lot of weight on the supposed pick-up to 215,000 in November. We'll wait for the official figures on Friday. That said, if the ADP does prove to be a good guide, a 200,000 plus gain might just be enough to persuade the Fed to begin its QE taper later this month."
Barclays Research continues to expect a 200k rise in headline non-farm payrolls and a two-tenths decline in the unemployment rate to 7.1% in the November employment report to be released on Friday.